It took more than two periods, but both Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and Washington's Alex Ovechkin finally hit the scoresheet during their meeting at the Verizon Center on Thursday night.
Both players had multiple points in the third period, with Stamkos getting a goal and an assist and Ovechkin a goal and a pair of assists as the Caps beat the Lightning 6-3.
Stamkos got on the board first when scored his League-leading 14th goal at 12:43 of the third period, bringing the Lightning within 4-3. He used a quick snap of his wrists to lift a 10-footer over Michal Neuvirth's shoulder. But Ovechkin matched him at 15:08, taking a pass from Alexander Semin and beating Dan Ellis from the left circle for a 5-3 lead.
The goal came on Ovechkin's second shot of the night, though he earned a pair of secondary assists in goals by Semin earlier in the third period.
Ovechkin got the second assist on Semin's rocket from the slot that hit Ellis and went into the net at 4:33, putting the Caps back in front. The assist extended his scoring streak to eight games. He also had the second assist on Semin's blast from the right circle that beat Ellis at 10:56.
Earlier in the period, Stamkos won a faceoff back to Martin St. Louis, who fired away and saw Ryan Malone knock in his rebound at 2:43, briefly tying the game at 2-2.
Stamkos ended up playing 23:43 and had an even plus-minus rating. Ovechkin saw 17:57 of ice time and ended up plus-4.
Through two periods. neither player was much in evidence offensively.
Washington scored twice in the second period to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes, but Ovechkin was not involved in either goal, though he was on the ice when Tom Poti's backhand chip tied the game at 2:21. He was on the bench when Mike Knuble scored at 7:53 to put the Caps ahead -- but that goal came against Stamkos' line, negating the plus he received for being on the ice when Teddy Purcell scored 9:27 into the game to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
Stamkos, the NHL's scoring leader entering the game, had 3 shots on goal through two periods and had another one blocked. He was credited with 3 hits and 1 blocked shot, and was 7-5 on faceoffs -- 6-2 in the second period -- in 14:17 of ice time, 3:29 of which came during Tampa Bay's three power plays.
Ovechkin was even quieter. He wasn't credited with a shot on goal through 40 minutes -- he missed the net twice and had another attempt was blocked. Ovechkin was credited with two of Washington's 22 hits -- both in the first period -- and had one giveaway. His 11:54 of ice time all came at even strength; the Caps did not receive a power play, and Ovechkin did not play during the Lightning's man advantages.