A costly third period turned out to be the difference as the Lightning fell to the Capitals 5-2 at Amalie Arena on Saturday night.
Two goals in less than a minute turned a tied game into a comfortable advantage for Washington as Tampa Bay had its two-game winning streak snapped with the loss.
Washington jumped in front seven minutes into the game thanks to a turnover. Jan Rutta was attempting to start a breakout from behind the Lightning net but had his pass clip Ondrej Palat and roll right to Nicklas Backstrom in front who fired a shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
On the other end of the ice, Ilya Samsonov was sharp in the early going for Washington. Samsonov made a pair of stops in the opening minutes on Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. He was also bailed out when a backhand attempt from Kevin Shattenkirk rolled along the goal line but bounced off the post and back into play.
Video: WSH@TBL: Point buries Killorn's feed for PPG
The puck luck continued for Samsonov into the early parts of the second period. With the Bolts on a power play, Victor Hedman took a shot from the point that rang off the right post. Minutes later, Carter Verhaeghe appeared to tie the game with a goal but the refs ruled that Mathieu Joseph had interfered with Samsonov and the goal was waived off.
Tampa Bay did manage to break through on a power play and tie the game on a beautiful passing play six minutes into the second period. Below the right circle, Alex Killorn wheeled and sent a no-look feed to Brayden Point in the slot who chipped the puck past Samsonov to pull the Bolts even.
The Lightning were dealt a tough hand late in the period after their leading scorer exited with an injury. Nikita Kucherov headed straight for the dressing room after blocking a hard slap shot from John Carlson and did not return.
The key sequence came early in the third period when Washington scored twice in less than a minute to build a 3-1 lead.
Lars Eller struck first, scoring on a one-timer off a feed from Richard Panik. Just 44 seconds later, Garnet Hathaway doubled the lead by chipping the puck over Vasilevskiy from in tight.
Video: WSH@TBL: Rutta pots wrister from top of circle
Jan Rutta pulled the Lightning back within a goal after scoring on a shot that beat Samsonov through traffic but T.J. Oshie answered for the Caps just over a minute later to reestablish the two goal advantage.
Tom Wilson added an empty net goal with less than a minute to play in regulation to round out the scoring.
The Lightning continue the homestand on Tuesday when they host the Ottawa Senators.
WSH | 6:42 Nicklas Backstrom (6) - Unassisted
TBL | 5:45 Brayden Point (12) - Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov - PPG
WSH | 1:58 Lars Eller (7) - Richard Panik, Dmitry Orlov
WSH | 2:42 Garnet Hathaway (5) - Brendan Leipsic, Radko Gudas
TBL | 11:16 Jan Rutta (1) - Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde
WSH | 12:19 T.J. Oshie (14) - Jakub Vrana, Evgeny Kuznetsov
WSH | 19:21 Tom Wilson (12) - T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom - EN