TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ The Tampa Bay Lightning took another step toward home-ice
advantage in the playoffs.
Vincent Lecavalier scored two goals to help the Eastern Conference-leading
Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 Saturday night.
Tampa Bay leads Boston by four points for the top seed in the conference,
and is tied with Detroit for the overall NHL lead with 103 points.
``We just want to stay away from bad habits and continue to play,''
Lightning coach John Tortorella said. ``Continue to work on our game.''
Lecavalier has 32 goals, one short of his career high set last season.
Fredrik Modin and Brad Richards also scored, and Nikolai Khabibulin made 21
``I feel confident, and obviously the more goals you score, the more you
feel good,'' Lecavalier said.
Washington rookie Matthew Yeats, who received little defensive support,
stopped 28 shots in his second straight start. The last- place Capitals, with
55 points, trail the Lightning by 48 points.
``He's been great,'' Washington coach Glen Hanlon said of Yeats. ``It looks
like he can play and we're in a position to give him a chance.''
Olaf Kolzig served as Yeats' backup.
``Olie has been the heart and soul of this organization,'' Hanlon said. ``We
had two days here and I wanted Olie to have some fun without thinking about
playing the game here. It had nothing to do with anything else.''
Hanlon said it hasn't been decided if Yeats will start the Capitals' final
four games of the season.
Matt Pettinger scored for Washington, 2-11-1 in its past 14 games. It was
the Capitals' seventh straight road loss.
Lecavalier put the Lightning up 1-0 during a two-on-one at 9:15 of the
first. He faked a pass and then beat Yeats with a nifty stick-handling move.
Tampa Bay is 34-8-4-2 when scoring first.
Lecavalier made it 2-0 at 2:25 of the second. He scored on his own rebound
after Yeats made the initial save on a breakaway.
Modin gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead with 2:17 left in the second. The Lightning
outshot Washington 13-4 during the middle period.
Pettinger, at 7:03, and Richards, with 9:58 to play, traded third-period
Yeats made three saves during a Tampa Bay power-play and turned aside
Lecavalier's in-close chance in the opening three minutes of play. He also
stopped Richards on a short-handed breakaway later in the first.
``Most of their chances were Grade A chances and it made a nice challenge
for me,'' Yeats said. ``They're a great team offensively. It was still fun.''