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Washington
Capitals
Tampa Bay
Lightning

28 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
WSH
TBL
game recap

Ovechkin scores in return from suspension

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:14 AM

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Welcome back, Alex Ovechkin.

The Russian star returned from his two-game suspension and quickly deposited his 45th goal of the season as the Washington Capitals skated away with a 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday night.

The two-time defending Hart Trophy winner took a long pass off the boards from Nicklas Backstrom, skated in on a breakaway and beat Antero Niittymaki to give the Caps a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Ovechkin leads the League with 97 points.

Tomas Fleischmann and Alexander Semin also scored for Washington (48-14-10).

"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."

Vincent Lecavalier had the lone goal for Tampa Bay, which has lost six in a row and is quickly fading out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

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

Ovechkin was suspended two games for 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.

Fleischmann scored the first goal for the Capitals just 2:40 into the game when he took a pass in the slot from Dan Steckel and caught Niittymaki out of position.

Tampa Bay tied it at 6:54 when Lecavalier took a feed from Teddy Purcell and poked it past Jose Theodore (33 saves) for his 22nd goal of the season.

Theodore was sensational the rest of the way, though. He turned aside several odd-man rushes, including a point-blank shot by Lecavalier midway through the first period and another by Martin St. Louis in the second.

"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."

Semin scored 7:20 into the third period, when he poked Brooks Laich's rebound past Niittymaki for his 33rd goal of the season.

Theodore hopes to be Washington's No. 1 goaltender when the Stanley Cup Playoffs get under way next month. Theodore, who has made 18 appearances without a regulation loss, is hopeful he will beat out Semyon Varlamov for the job.

"That's (Boudreau's) call," Theodore said. "I just like to play the game and do my stuff. The rest is really out of control."

Material from wire services was used in this report.

scoring summary
1st Period
02:40
WSH
Tomas Fleischmann (21) Wrist shot - ASST: Eric Fehr (16), David Steckel (9)
1 - 0 WSH
06:54
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier (22) Wrist shot - ASST: Teddy Purcell (8), Brandon Bochenski (8)
1 - 1 Tie
10:47
WSH
Alex Ovechkin (45) Wrist shot - ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (59)
2 - 1 WSH
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
07:20
WSH
Alexander Semin (33) Wrist shot - ASST: Brooks Laich (32), Brendan Morrison (29)
3 - 1 WSH
penalty summary
1st Period
03:23
WSH
Mike Green  Hooking against  Martin St. Louis
08:13
WSH
John Carlson  Holding against  Steven Stamkos
17:10
TBL
Mike Lundin  Holding against  Nicklas Backstrom
18:59
TBL
Paul Szczechura  Tripping against  Alex Ovechkin
19:58
WSH
Eric Fehr  Too many men/ice - bench
2nd Period
02:49
WSH
Scott Walker  Fighting (maj) against  Zenon Konopka
02:49
TBL
Zenon Konopka  Fighting (maj) against  Scott Walker
12:03
WSH
John Erskine  Boarding against  Nate Thompson
12:50
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier  Hooking against  Shaone Morrisonn
12:50
WSH
Tom Poti  Roughing against  Steve Downie
15:39
TBL
Stephane Veilleux  Hi-sticking against  Eric Fehr
18:31
WSH
Eric Fehr  Boarding against  Steve Downie
3rd Period
18:08
TBL
Steve Downie  Roughing against  David Steckel
goalie stats
Jose Theodore
SA: 34TOI: 59:28
Saves: 33EV: 19 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 12 - 12
SV%: .971SH: 2 - 2
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 28TOI: 59:49
Saves: 25EV: 20 - 23
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .893SH: 0 - 0