Washington at Tampa Bay

Ovechkin scores in return from suspension, Caps strike down Bolts

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TAMPA, Fla. -- On a night Alexander Ovechkin scored in his return from a two-game suspension, another NHL MVP was the player of the game.

Jose Theodore made a case to be the Washington Capitals playoff goalie with 33 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race

"I thought [Jose] was outstanding," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I felt so comfortable with him in the net. It was a really good feeling to have."

Theodore showed the form that earned him the Hart and Vezina trophies with the Montreal Canadiens in 2002 and kept the Lightning frustrated.

The Lightning (29-31-12) lost all four games on their homestand. They scored only five goals in those four games against playoff teams.

"It's hard. In life this is where you test your character and bounce back," Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. "I don't know what else to say. The guys worked hard."

Ovechkin scored midway through the first period when he took a long pass off the boards from Nicklas Backstrom, skated in on a breakaway and easily scored on Antero Niittymaki to give Washington a 2-1 lead.

It was Ovechkin's 45th goal of the season and his NHL-leading 97th point.

The two-time defending MVP was suspended after shoving Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell from behind and sending him into the boards last Sunday. Campbell broke his collarbone and ribs, and is expected to miss at least the rest of the regular season.

"It's always nice to go back and play hockey, and score goals," Ovechkin said. "The atmosphere was pretty nice but it was too hot, especially in the second and third period."

Washington (47-14-10) took a 1-0 lead just 2:40 in the game when Tomas Fleischmann took a pass in the slot from Dan Steckel and caught Niittymaki out of position.

Tampa Bay stormed back when Vincent Lecavalier took a feed from Teddy Purcell and pushed a shot past Theodore to tie the game at 1-1.

From that point on it was Theodore making key saves time and again. Later in the first period he robbed Lecavalier on a point-blank shot during a power play. In the second, he stoned Martin St. Louis on a 2-on-1 rush.

Theodore has played well lately and could be in line to be the Capitals' No. 1 goalie when the playoffs begin. He has gone 18 consecutive decisions without a regulation loss.

"That's [Boudreau's] call," Theodore said of his competition with Semyon Varlamov. "I just like to play the game and do my stuff. The rest is really out of control."

Alexander Semin provided an insurance goal midway through the third period when he sent in a rebound of Brooks Laich's slap shot.

Notes

  • When asked whether Theodore was separating himself from Varlamov, Boudreau responded, "The way he is playing, he certainly is."
  • The Lightning were 0 for 5 on the power play.
  • Tampa Bay dropped into a tie for 11th in the Eastern Conference standings and are six points behind eighth-place Boston.
  • East-leading Washington is 10 points ahead of Chicago in the race for the best record in the NHL.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Alexander Ovechkin gets right back to scoring mode, with his 45th goal. (AP)
Alexander Ovechkin gets right back to scoring mode, with his 45th goal. (AP)
Scoreboard
Washington  (48-14-10) «2013
Tampa Bay (28-31-12)1001
Three Stars
J. Theodore
WAS


Saves: 33
Save Pct.: .971
A. Ovechkin
WAS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
V. Lecavalier
TB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:40Tomas Fleischmann (21), Tip-In. Assist: Fehr, Steckel
06:54Vincent Lecavalier (22), Slap Shot. Assist: Purcell, Bochenski
10:47Alex Ovechkin (46), Slap Shot. Assist: Backstrom
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
07:20Alexander Semin (33), Tip-In. Assist: Laich, Morrison
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:23Green, 2 min, Hooking
08:13Carlson, 2 min, Holding
17:10Lundin, 2 min, Holding
18:59Szczechura, 2 min, Tripping
19:58Fehr, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
2ND PERIOD
02:49Walker, 5 min, Fighting
02:49Konopka, 5 min, Fighting
12:03Erskine, 2 min, Boarding
12:50Lecavalier, 2 min, Hooking
12:50Poti, 2 min, Roughing
15:39Veilleux, 2 min, High-Sticking
18:31Fehr, 2 min, Boarding
3RD PERIOD
18:08Downie, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Washington491528
Tampa Bay1313834
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Jose Theodore59:28331
Antero Niittymaki59:49253
Game Information
Attendance - 19844
Referees - Dennis LaRue, Wes McCauley
Linesmen - Mark Pare, Greg Devorski
 
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