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Brian Pothier Helps Capitals Post a 5-3 Triumph Over the Lightning
Ovechkin clinched the win with an empty-net goal in the final seconds, giving him 100 points for the third time in his four seasons, on a night that began with people wondering whether the Lightning would attempt to punish Ovechkin for his "hot-stick" antics in the teams' most recent meeting last Thursday in Tampa. But other than a few contentious moments -- common during divisional games -- the Lightning players did not appear to go out of their way to seek retribution.
The Capitals did not have Alexander Semin in the lineup because of the flu, which, according to Boudreau, was still affecting "half the team." But if the Capitals were slowed by illness, it didn't show early.
Ovechkin opened the scoring at 6 minutes 49 seconds, notching his 52nd of the season on a five-on-three power play from the top of the slot. About five minutes later, Backstrom went to the net and redirected a slap pass from Ovechkin behind McKenna to put the Capitals ahead 2-0.
Martin St. Louis cut the Lightning deficit in half when his turnaround slap shot hit defenseman Tom Poti before eluding Theodore. But another goal by Backstrom, backhanded on a rebound, gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead.
That lead didn't last, but thanks to Pothier, the Capitals enter a four-day break -- they're getting the weekend away from the rink -- on a high.
"It's good to have a mental break," Boudreau said. "It comes at a great time."
Capitals Notes: Defenseman Jeff Schultz was a healthy scratch for the first time. Aucoin and Oskar Osala were recalled from the minor league Hershey Bears and suited up.