Holtby backs Capitals to victory over Lightning


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Braden Holtby made 35 saves to win for the 10th time in his last 11 starts and the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Saturday night.

Holtby stopped Valtteri Filppula‘s shot from just outside the crease, and a scoring chance from the slot by Kucherov during a 15-second stretch 5 minutes into the game.

Washington got goals from Jay Beagle and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning, who head out on a three-game road trip that includes a matchup Tuesday night at Toronto in which Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be in the spotlight. The Ontario native can become a free agent after this season, which has been a topic of great discussion in the Toronto media.

Stamkos had an assist, but saw his goal-scoring drought reach eight consecutive games.

Kuznetsov put the Capitals ahead 2-0 at 11:16 of the second when he headed behind the net and reached back with his stick to send the puck past Ben Bishop.

Bishop finished with 18 saves.

Kucherov’s power-play goal from the right circle pulled Tampa Bay to 2-1 at 8:05 of the third. He has five goals over his past four games.

Tampa Bay outshot the Capitals 15-1 in the third.

Beagle opened the scoring at 2:09 of the first from a tough angle along the goal line. It stopped an 11-game goal drought for the center.

Alex Ovechkin nearly got his 15th goal this season and 490th overall midway through the first, but his shot hit the post. Dmitry Orlov hit the post and Andre Burakovsky had a shot go off the crossbar later in the period.

Lightning left wing Ondej Palat left after playing five shifts in the first period. It was his second game back after missing 12 straight with an ankle injury.

NOTES: Tampa Bay C Tyler Johnson sat out for the seventh time in the last 11 games due to undisclosed injuries. He may miss a few more games before returning. … Lightning LW Jonathan Drouin