Skip to Main Content
game recap

Ovechkin scores to help Capitals defeat Lightning

First-period goal ties Bossy on NHL list

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin moved up on the NHL all-time goals list, and the Washington Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 at Capital One Arena on Friday.

Ovechkin scored his 573rd goal to tie Mike Bossy for 21st place in NHL history. Ovechkin's 15th goal of the season tied the game 1-1 with 1:24 left in the first period.


[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Capitals highlights]


"It's kind of situation where you make a decision out there," Ovechkin said. "I tried to make a pass, but it seems like I'm not that good of a passer. I have to make shots probably. It's fine. We get the points and we move forward."

Devante Smith-Pelly's goal at 14:36 of the second period gave Washington a 2-1 lead.

The Capitals (13-10-1) have won seven of their past eight home games. Philipp Grubauer made 25 saves and is 4-0-1 against the Lightning.

Jay Beagle scored an empty-net goal with 2:08 left in the third period. His assist on Smith-Pelly's goal was his 100th NHL point.

Vladislav Namestnikov scored for the Lightning (16-4-2), who have lost two of three since a five-game winning streak ended Nov. 18. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves.

Video: TBL@WSH: Kucherov's shot hits off Namestnikov for PPG

"Any time you're at the top of the standings, you get every team's best effort," Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said. "Teams aren't going to lay over in this league. They're going to play well. Sometimes it's a case of a team just playing well against us, but I thought tonight, everyone included, if it wasn't for [Vasilevskiy] it could have been a lot worse."

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead at 1:22 of the first period on Namestnikov's power-play goal. Nikita Kucherov's shot from the right face-off circle deflected off Namestnikov's chest.

Grubauer entered the game 0-5-1 with a 3.86 goals-against average and an .876 save percentage.

"I was laughing. Here we go again. I was going right and it found its way in," Grubauer said. "The team did unbelievable. If we play like this the whole year, we are going to be really tough to beat. Everybody was working. Gaps were good. We didn't give a lot up and we blocked a bunch of shots. It was an awesome win."

Washington outshot Tampa Bay 16-3 during the final 13:28 of the first period. Ovechkin scored at 18:36 with a one-timer from the left face-off circle on a cross-ice pass from Tom Wilson. Nicklas Backstrom had the other assist and has one in three of his past four games, the past two back on a line with Ovechkin.

Smith-Pelly's go-ahead goal came after he drove the net following a drop pass to Beagle. The shot came off Vasilevskiy's pads and landed on Smith-Pelly's stick.

Grubauer was at his best with the game tied 1-1 in the second period, including a kick save on Ondrej Palat after a no-look centering pass from Alex Killorn at 7:26. 

"It's just unfortunate the way it's been going for [Grubauer] at the beginning of the season," Beagle said. "But he's been standing on his head and playing unreal. He obviously deserves a big win. He was huge again tonight. Made some big saves at some big times." 

Video: TBL@WSH: Beagle slots home backhand into empty net


Goal of the game

Smith-Pelly's goal at 14:36 of the second period. 

Video: TBL@WSH: Smith-Pelly buries rebound to give Caps lead


Save of the game

Grubauer's save on Palat at 7:26 of the second period. 

Video: TBL@WSH: Grubauer denies Palat on the doorstep


Highlight of the game

Ovechkin's goal at 18:36 of the first period. 

Video: TBL@WSH: Ovechkin blasts one-timer past Vasilevskiy


They said it

"We think we're a little bit better than we are. There's a reason we have the record we have, because we've worked to get there. And I just don't know if we're putting in that same kind of effort, that urgency and determination that got us off to the start that we did." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper


"It's just such a blessing to be in this league. It's awesome to be playing. I try not to take it ever for granted. I am not a huge stats, points guy. But that is a cool milestone." -- Capitals forward Jay Beagle on his 101 NHL points in 416 games


Need to know

Backstrom got his 219th assist on an Ovechkin goal. Backstrom has assisted on 38.2 percent of Ovechkin's NHL goals. … Mark Recchi is 20th on the NHL goals list with 577. … Tampa Bay last won a regular-season game at Capital One Arena on April 13, 2014, 1-0 in a shootout. The Lightning last won a game in regulation at Washington on March 12, 2010 (3-2). … Beagle has 47 NHL goals and 54 assists.


What's next

Lightning: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, SUN, NHL.TV)

Capitals: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, NBCSWA+, NHL.TV)


Video: Beagle, Grubauer lift Caps to 3-1 win against Bolts

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.