Vincent Lecavalier's recent hot streak has the Tampa Bay Lightning star within reach of a career milestone heading into a matchup Sunday with the Washington Capitals.
Already enjoying a career season, Lecavalier scored twice in a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday to extend his point streak to seven games and push his NHL-leading goal total to 48. With two more points Sunday, Lecavalier will reach 500 for his career in just eight NHL seasons - all with Tampa Bay.
Lecavalier, who has a team-record and career-best 96 points this season, has seven goals and 12 points in his last seven games, but the Lightning (39-29-4) are 3-4-0 during that stretch. Tampa Bay is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and trying to reach the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.
Lecavalier has scored in all six meetings with Washington this season, totaling eight goals and five assists while leading the Lightning to a 5-1-0 mark.
Despite Lecavalier's fourth two-goal game in his last 15 outings, Tampa Bay couldn't come back from a 3-1 first-period deficit Friday against conference-leading Buffalo as it fell for the second straight game.
"We came up short but not from a lack of effort," said Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis, who has five goals and 10 points against Washington this season. "I like the way that we stayed in the game and the way we fought back. We were one shot away from tying it up and we had a few chances."
Tampa Bay lost Friday in its first home game after going 3-3 on a recent road trip that started with a 5-4 win over Washington in a 10-round shootout on March 1. The Lightning are 21-14-3 on the road, but after Sunday, will play just two of their final nine games away from home.
Washington (25-34-13) snapped a season-high nine-game losing streak Friday with a 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. With 63 points, the Capitals are likely to miss the playoffs for the third season in a row.
Alexander Semin had a goal and two assists and Alexandre Giroux scored his first NHL goal as Washington also snapped a seven-game home losing streak.
"It's a fine line between winning and losing," said Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig, who got his first win in two starts since missing 13 games with a knee injury. "We had three shootout games. It was little things. It's an awful stretch to go through."
Semin has five points in his last three games after being held without point in his previous four. The team's second-leading scorer behind Alexander Ovechkin has 34 goals and 64 points, including six goals and 10 points against Tampa Bay this season.
Washington has lost all three home games of this season series, in which the teams have combined to score 47 goals in regulation.