Sunday, April 1, 2007

2 in a row: TB 5 - WSH 2

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and two assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning inched closer to securing a playoff berth with a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals at St. Pete Times Forum.

Martin St. Louis and Dan Boyle each added a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who have won their last two games.

"It was a good game for us and I felt pretty comfortable, too," said Lecavalier. "I think right now we're playing as good as we can. We're playing hard, we're playing desperate."

Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 shots for Tampa Bay, which has 90 points and sits in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Rangers. Also, Tampa sits just three points behind Atlanta for first place in the Southeast Division.

Matt Pettinger and Matt Bradley each had a goal for the Capitals, who have dropped their past six contests. Olaf Kolzig stopped 24-of-28 shots.

"They got a good start, but overall I think we hung in there until we started to take penalties," said Washington coach Glen Hanlon. "Our goalie battled hard tonight."

Tampa drew first blood in the contest when Lecavalier scored his league- leading 51st goal of the season just 36 seconds into the contest.

Washington tied the game at the 11:16 mark of the first when Pettinger's one- timer from the low slot slid underneath the right pad of Holmqvist for his 16th goal of the season.

The Lightning, though, regained the lead with 6:31 left in the opening stanza as Ryan Craig used a defender to set up a screen and snapped a wrist shot between the pads of Kolzig for a 2-1 advantage.

Tampa made it a 3-1 game with just 1:56 left in the second when Boyle scored a power-play goal, his 19th marker of the season.

Holmqvist needed to make just five saves in the middle frame to keep Washington off the board.

The Lightning took a 4-1 advantage 7:35 into the third period as St. Louis skated in on a 2-on-1, slid a pass from the top of the right circle to Lecavalier, who immediately fed the puck back to St. Louis for a one-timer past Kolzig for his 43rd goal of the season.

Washington got a goal back with 53.5 seconds to play as Bradley snapped a loose puck into the right corner of the net.

Jason Ward, though, sealed the win for Tampa with an empty-net goal in the final seconds of the contest.

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