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Ovechkin, Capitals fall one goal short in Game 5 loss to Lightning

Forward scores once, but can't tie it playing most of last five minutes

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

TAMPA -- There was less than five minutes remaining when Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin came back on the ice. And for the rest of the game, he would barely leave it.

After not having a shot on goal for more than 55 minutes, Ovechkin scored. But the late surge by the Capitals wasn't enough, and the Tampa Bay Lightning held on to win Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final 3-2 at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

"Give us credit, we don't stop playing," Ovechkin said. "You could see the boys and the whole team was fighting, and it was a great match. It's a hockey game."

 

[RELATED: Complete Lightning vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

But with a third straight loss, the Capitals trail the best-of-7 series and their season would end with a Game 6 loss at home Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN1, TVAS).

"Our goal is to come back here and play a Game 7," Ovechkin, the Capitals captain, said. "It's OK. We're going to play better in Game 6, and we have to bounce back and come here and play a Game 7, and that's it."

Trailing 3-1, Ovechkin played 4:28 of the final 4:48. His last three shifts were for 2:14, 46 seconds and 1:28.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm5: Ovechkin pots one-timer late in 3rd

Ovechkin's goal, which made it 3-2 with 1:36 remaining, was his 11th of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has 21 points, tying his NHL playoff high set in 2008-09. His final attempt to tie the game was blocked by Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi with 19 seconds left.

"He's our leader, he's our top guy, our go-to guy," Capitals forward Jay Beagle said. "If we're down two, you gotta put him out there. You have to have him out there and try to get him the puck because we know how dangerous he is."

Ovechkin did not have a shot on goal when the Capitals lost 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the second round. For a while, it was looking like Saturday would be the second time. Tampa Bay's fourth line of Chris Kunitz, Cedric Paquette and Ryan Callahan not only scored twice but kept the Washington line of Ovechkin, Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom (who replaced Evgeni Kuznetsov to start the second period) without a shot on goal in the first two periods.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm5: Trotz discusses Game 5 loss

"I don't think they did something special," Ovechkin said. "I tried to play a different way, not find an easy one."

Late in the third period, Ovechkin was getting his shots (he finished with three on goal), put Washington within one, and almost scored to tie it.

"They're checking, they have their best [defense] pair and they're doing a good job on him, but he'll find ways," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Trust me, he gets his shots."

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