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Capitals extend win streak to four, defeat Lightning

by Katie Brown

WASHINGTON -- Since Jason Chimera started playing on the Washington Capitals power play eight games ago, has been an unlikely hero.

He had one of the Capitals' three power-play goals when they extended their winning streak to four games with a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center on Friday.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz thought the power play needed a new element, so he put Chimera there on Nov. 12 and he scored two goals that game.

Chimera's speed, ability to screen and playmaking abilities in front of the net, coupled with not really being on the radar of the other team, has added to his effectiveness. He's scored three power-play goals in the eight games, more than his NHL season-high of two; he also has two man-advantage assists.

"He's got so much speed to his game, he commands so much respect when he's down there," Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt said. "When you're feeling it in this game, you're feeling it. Right now, that's what he's doing. He's got the hot hand right now; he's making a lot of plays. He's a talented guy. The reason why he's played in this league so long is, he's carved a career out of speed and being able to make plays every single night."

Washington went 4-1-0 during its five-game homestand and has won five of its past six games.

Braden Holtby made 32 saves, and forwards Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera, Marcus Johansson and T.J. Oshie scored for the Capitals (16-5-1).

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves, and forward Brian Boyle and defenseman Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning (11-10-3).

"Our special teams were not good tonight and that's ultimately what cost us the game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It's tough too; I think we gave up eight shots on their first two power plays … that can't happen. The unfortunate part is, I think on one power play they scored with eight seconds left and another one they scored with two seconds left, so you're nearly out of it, and to give up those goals hurt. We needed to be better on our special teams."

Ovechkin scored on a power play at 7:09 of the first period, giving the Capitals a 1-0 lead. Chimera passed below the goal line to Ovechkin, who sent the puck top corner from his usual spot in the left circle, beating Vasilevskiy on his glove side for his 12th of the season. Ovechkin has five points in his past five games.

Washington's 18 shots on goal in the first period were a season-high for shots in a period.

Chimera scored his sixth goal of the season at 18:03 of the second period. On a power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov's slap pass met Chimera in the paint and he tipped it in, putting the Capitals up 2-0.

Johansson's goal gave Washington a 3-0 lead with 42 seconds remaining in the second. Defenseman John Carlson's cross-ice pass hit Johansson's skate and deflected in past Vasilevskiy. The goal broke a 10-game drought for Johansson and was his fourth of the season.

Carlson has five points in his past four games after going eight consecutive games without one.

"He's got a lot of confidence right now," Schmidt said. "He's a phenomenal player when he gets a little extra time and I try to buy him a little extra time as much as I can. But when you give him a little extra space, he's going to play. It's just like [Nicklas Backstrom] on the power play. You give them time, they make plays."

Oshie's power-play goal at 5:16 of the third period extended Washington's lead to 4-0. Backstrom carried the puck into the zone and Oshie scored with a wrist shot from the high slot. It was Oshie's first power-play goal since Oct. 17 and his first goal in eight games.

"I don't think there's really been any pressure, because we've been winning games," Oshie said. "For the most part I've been staying positive; we've been winning games and a lot of guys have been pitching in offensively. I'd be lying if I didn't say it wasn't nice to get that one."

Boyle scored his fifth goal of the season at 10:49 of the third period, making it 4-1. Boyle picked up forward Ryan Callahan's pass in the circle and his shot skipped past Holtby's glove.

"You can't go down 4-0 and expect to win a game … the whole game just wasn't very good," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "Obviously you give up three power-play goals that's a tough one to overcome. It's not like we dominated 5-on-5 or anything. We had some good shifts in the third [period], but again, you can't play 15, 20 minutes in a game and expect to win."

Hedman scored at 11:55 to make it 4-2. His second goal of the season was a slap shot from the slot.

Holtby said the Capitals stopped playing after Boyle's goal, because they thought it was offside, which contributed to the Lightning scoring their second goal so quickly after the first.

"Plays like that we've just got to keep playing," Holtby said. "I think it got us a bit; we froze when we thought it was [offside] and we can't do that. You've got to be mentally stronger through that and keep playing. "

Tampa Bay forward Tyler Johnson left the game in the second period and did not return.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik missed an eighth consecutive game with a lower-body injury, defenseman John Carlson skated in his 400th consecutive NHL game, and Barry Trotz coached his 1,300th NHL game.

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