WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals scored four goals in the third period to rally for a 5-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center on Friday.
Washington trailed 3-0 after Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos scored at 9:04 of the second period, but then scored five unanswered goals, including three on the power play.
"I think we all just said in here that we're going to do it for each other and just go out and work hard and see where it gets us," said Capitals forward Marcus Johansson, who scored the game-winner. "We came out with a lot of energy, and when we did that, I think everybody felt that we would have a good chance if we kept going, and we did. I think that's one of the strengths of this team; we never quit. It's fun to get these wins."
The Capitals (23-6-2), who have won four in a row, came back from a three-goal deficit to win in regulation for the first time since Oct. 16, 2008. The win moved them to the top of the NHL standings with 48 points.
Goalie Braden Holtby started but was pulled for the first time this season after allowing three goals on 12 shots in 28:57. Philipp Grubauer made seven saves in relief.
"It was designed to be a wake-up call to the team," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "It wasn't a slight against Braden. He's been our MVP this year. I didn't want to slight him, because he's been fantastic. We weren't playing real passionate in front of him."
Alex Ovechkin had two goals and two assists for Washington, and T.J. Oshie had two goals and an assist.
Oshie's first goal pulled the Capitals to within a goal and gave them a sense of urgency the Lightning were unable to match. Grubauer made a big save against Tampa Bay forward Vladislav Namestnikov, and Oshie cashed in on the other end.
"That was the turning point," Trotz said. "They had us in our end, had a couple good looks, he made a great save, we come back and score; momentum, all us. Once we scored that goal, I knew we were going to get it tied up. I had a pretty good feeling we were going to win it in regulation too. You could tell the bench got really excited."
Alex Killorn and Andrej Sustr scored for the Lightning (16-14-3), who had won two in a row. Ben Bishop made 18 saves.
"We had a 3-0 lead in the game, so that's tough," Stamkos said. "I mean, we sat back a bit. Their power play obviously picked us apart pretty good tonight. That one is a tough one to swallow, because for the most part, I thought 5-on-5 we played extremely well in the first and second periods. We give them some life on the power play, [and] they get a couple more in the third, which is obviously tough, and it's just the same story in this building - the power play finds a way to beat us."
Killorn opened the scoring with his fifth goal at 8:18 of the first period. He scored on a transition play started by defenseman Braydon Coburn. Forward Jonathan Marchessault received Coburn's pass and hit Killorn on his way to the net. Killorn held on to the puck and deked until Holtby went down, scoring behind him at the post.
Sustr ended a 106-game goal drought when he scored at 6:54 of the second period to put the Lightning up 2-0. Forward Nikita Kucherov started the play at the other end, beat Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen with a spin move and passed to a wide-open Sustr, who beat Holtby with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot for his first goal since April 5, 2014.
"Obviously, it was nice," Sustr said of his goal. "I think I've been getting some chances. It was just, you know, I didn't let it frustrate me because I've been getting some good looks every night, but I haven't been able to capitalize. You know, it happened tonight, and hopefully I'll be able to chip in more."
Stamkos' 12th of the season midway through the second period ended Holtby's night. Defenseman Victor Hedman fed the puck to Stamkos in the neutral zone, and he beat two Capitals defenders to score from the slot.
It was Stamkos' first goal in 11 games.
Ovechkin cut the deficit to 3-1 with a power-play goal at 13:49 of the second period. Defenseman John Carlson passed to Ovechkin, whose shot was blocked. Oshie grabbed the rebound and sent a behind-the-back pass to Ovechkin, who scored on his second attempt.
Oshie scored to make it 3-2 when he went end to end and beat Bishop at 7:54 of the third period.
"He was our best player tonight," Johansson said. "He made plays all over the ice. He had some beautiful assists, a nice goal, and it's fun to watch him play. He makes things out of nothing, and it was fun to see him have this game."
Ovechkin scored his second power-play goal of the night at 10:02 to tie it 3-3 when he skated into the zone unchallenged and scored to Bishop's glove side. The goal was his 16th of the season.
Johansson scored the go-ahead goal on the power play with 5:44 remaining. It was his sixth goal of the season.
Oshie scored an empty-net goal with 25 seconds remaining.