TAMPA, Fla. -- Heroics are becoming routine for Steven Stamkos
Monday night, he collected his 12th game-winning goal of the season -- the most in the NHL -- to snap a 2-2 tie with the Washington Capitals
with just 1:03 remaining in the contest. He later added an empty-netter as the Tampa Bay Lightning
registered a 4-2 win at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The goals moved Stamkos to within two to reach 60 for the season, with three games remaining beginning with Wednesday's match at Montreal.
Short of making the playoffs (which they failed to do), Tampa Bay couldn't have wanted more from its final home game of the season.
"The way it's going right now is the way I want it to keep going the next three games," Stamkos said. "There's not a lot of thinking right now, it's just playing hard and going to the right places and getting some bounces. I'm not going to change anything these last three games."
, likely playing his final game as a member of the Lightning, showed the same sort of form that helped propel the club within one game of the Stanley Cup Final last season -- the form that had been so elusive for him this time around. He finished with 31 stops, including an eye-popping, diving glove save on Mike Green
from point-blank range.
"(Alex) Ovechkin was coming out of the opposite corner so I expected him to shoot," Roloson said. "Instead, he lasered a pass across. I was trying my best to get something there and saw it coming in and was able to get my glove on it."
Despite falling behind when Alexander Semin
opened the scoring with a shot that went through a crowd in front and past Roloson, Teddy Purcell
and Victor Hedman
scored within 25 seconds of each other to give Tampa Bay the lead after two periods.
Purcell's goal was his 21st of the season, a career best.
When Jason Chimera
tied the game at 16:43 of the third period, it appeared that the game would be heading for overtime, which would have been the third consecutive overtime game for the Capitals and the second for the Lightning.
But from there, Stamkos took over.
His two scores give him eight goals in the last six games and extended his scoring streak to six games. He also registered an assist on Purcell's goal and now has 33 points over his last 23 games.
Stamkos' empty-net goal with just two seconds remaining came from a unique and difficult angle.
"The hardest, luckiest, flukiest and maybe a little bit of skill in there," Stamkos said. "From my angle, it looked like it was going to hit the post square on. I had no clue how much time was left; I was just trying as hard as I could to get the shot off."
allowed three goals on 26 shots in the loss for the Capitals, who remain just two points ahead of idle Buffalo for the final playoff spot in the East. Washington (40-32-8) will host Florida on Thursday.
"It's a tough loss," Neuvirth said. "We played hard. The game's over. We need to go on to the next game."
"We're fighting for our playoff lives, so it's not that hard to bounce back," added Chimera. "It means a lot playing for something this time of year. You want to play in the playoffs. Ask any player what's the worst day -- it's sitting home watching playoffs the first day of playoffs. You want to be in those playoffs. You want to be in the hot seat."
For the Lightning (37-35-7) they'll finish out their disappointing season with games in Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.
"There is so much positive stuff that happened this season," coach Guy Boucher said. "We need to focus on that. Through all the adversity, we still maintained a high standard in our rink in front of our fans.
"Look at the positive things that will stem from this year's work. I don't want to think about the negatives. When you focus on the positives, that's what makes you progress, rather than regress. We'll stick with that for the summer. We'll be ready to put on a great show for our fans next season."