Despite playing a terrific first period, the Caps never led in the game until Dmitry Orlov bagged the game-winner at 3:03 of overtime. They were dominant in the first, but so was Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped all 14 shots he faced.
Washington held the Lightning to a single shot on net - and that one came on a power play - over a span of nearly 17 minutes in the first, but the Caps fell behind when Brayden Point scored on the second Lightning power play opportunity of the period.
Video: Orlov, Capitals rally for OT victory
Tampa Bay was much better the second period, and the Lightning owned a 19-6 advantage in shots on net from late in the first to early in the third, taking a 3-1 lead into the final period.
The Caps' physicality was also likely a factor in the victory; they laid a single-game season high of 42 hits on the Lightning, with 15 of those applied to Tampa Bay blueliners. Washington outhit the Lightning 16-5 in the first period, 16-11 in the second, and 10-8 from the start of the third until Orlov's game-winner.
Mainly though, Friday's win was a matter of perseverance. After Vasilevskiy robbed him twice in the first, Vrana kept at it and scored a huge goal early in the third, pulling the Caps to within a goal. Orlov hit a post early and his stick disintegrated on impact on another shot attempt in the second. But he drew the penalty that led to Alex Ovechkin's tying power-play goal in the third, and he put the puck on a tee for the captain's tying tally. And of course, Orlov won it for Washington in overtime.
Braden Holtby wasn't pleased with the third goal he allowed, an Alex Killorn goal late in the second, but he stopped all nine shots he faced the rest of the way, including a couple of late clutch stops after Washington tied it up at 3-3.
"I think we stuck with it and had some big plays, and obviously it's exciting to do that," says Holtby. "The guys bailed me out for that third goal, too, so that's awesome."
Video: Postgame | November 29
"A few nights ago," says Caps right wing T.J. Oshie, "it seemed like we were still getting frustrated when pucks weren't going in, or we were hitting posts, or we had a couple of turnovers. And tonight, we just kept playing.
"Obviously big power-play goal there by 'O.' The power plays were kind of hard to come by there for a while, and once we worked hard for one, and 'O' put it in, the momentum was all on our side. It's a big two points against a good hockey club tonight."
Washington's five multi-goal comebacks is the most in the league this season. The Caps are 5-1-2 when trailing after one period, and they are 4-3-1 when trailing after two. They are the only team in the NHL with a .500 or better points pct. in each of those categories, and the only team with at least a .500 pct. when trailing after two.
A dozen of Washington's first 27 games this season have required extra hockey, and five of those have gone on to the shootout phase.
Video: Reirden Postgame | November 29
High Powered - Ovechkin's power-play goal in the third was his 17th goal of the season, and the 675th of his NHL career. It was also his 255th career power-play goal, which ties him with Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne for third place on the NHL's all-time list.
The only two players in league history with more extra-man tallies than Ovechkin are Hockey Hall of Famers Dave Andreychuk (274) and Brett Hull (265). Ovechkin has eight power-play goals this season, tied for third in the circuit.
Video: TBL@WSH: Ovechkin ties Selanne on NHL's PPGs list
Orlov In Overtime - Orlov became the fourth different player to score an overtime game-winner for Washington this season, following Vrana, Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. He is the first Caps defenseman to score an overtime game-winner since Matt Niskanen did so on Oct. 17, 2018 against the New York Rangers.
Friday's goal was the first overtime-game winner of Orlov's NHL career, and his seventh career game-winner. Prior to Friday, Orlov's most recent game-winner came on April 1, 2018 in Pittsburgh, in the game that clinched the Metro Division title for Washington, a little more than two months before the Caps won the Stanley Cup.
Video: TBL@WSH: Orlov wins it in OT for Capitals
Right Start - Washington reached the 40-point plateau on the season with Friday's win, and the 2019-20 edition of the Caps required the second fewest games to get to 40 in franchise history. Only the 2015-16 Caps got there quicker; that bunch needed only 26 games (19-5-2) to get to 40 points.
Another Shot Of Ambition - Ovechkin had seven shots on net in Friday's game, and he now has 5,365 career shots on net, passing Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne (5,363). Only Ray Bourque (6,209) and Jaromir Jagr (5,637) are ahead of Ovechkin on that list. Ovechkin's average of 4.83 shots per game is tops all-time in the NHL.
Vrana recorded a single-game career high of nine shots on net in Friday's game. With 80 shots on net this season, Vrana is second only to Ovechkin (131) among all Caps.
Second Look - For the first five weeks of this season, the Caps were the best team in the league in the second period. Washington scored at least one second-period goal in each of its first 19 games this season, doubling up the opposition 28-14 and outshooting them 188-176 in the process.
But in the eight games since, the Caps have scuffled in the middle frame. They've been outscored 10-4 and outshot 92-70 in those eight games, and they've been held off the scoreboard in five of the eight.
By The Numbers - John Carlson led the Caps with 27:09 in ice time … Vrana led the way with his nine shots on net and with 13 shot attempts … Wilson led the Caps with nine hits; Nic Dowd added seven and Ovechkin had six … Lars Eller led the Caps with three blocked shots, and he led all Washington forwards with 21:05 in ice time … Oshie had three assists in Friday's game, his eighth career three-assist game and his 32nd career three-point game.