Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom each scored two goals for Washington, but the night belonged to Brian Pothier as he scored his first goal since coming back from his career-threatening concussion. With a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Washington Capitals improved to 46-23-7 and inched closer to their second consecutive Southeast Division title. As for Tampa Bay, they fell to 24-34-17 on the season.
The 18,277 at Verizon Center saw Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom score power play goals to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead. Martin St. Louis cut the Capitals’ lead in half with his 29th goal of the year, but Backstrom restored the 2-goal lead with another power play goal. After the first period, Washington led 3 to 1.
With less than a minute left in the second period, Steven Stamkos netted his 19th goal of the year to cut the Washington lead to one heading into the final period.
Vaclav Prospal also netted his 19th goal of the year to tie the game at three, but Brian Pothier became the new hero for Washington as his first goal in over a year gave Washington a 4-3 lead with 15 minutes left in regulation. Alexander Ovechkin’s empty net goal sealed the win for Washington; Ovechkin now has 53 goals and 100 points on the year.
After the game, Pothier said, “It’s been a while and really feels good. I had to hold back the emotion a little bit, but I feel like I’m contributing. To put one in and an important goal was pretty special.”