Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Nicklas Backstrom notched his first career hat trick to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Braden Holtby stopped 26 shots, Eric Fehr scored an empty-net goal and Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson each supplied two assists for the Capitals, who have won four of their last five games.
"It's a great feeling. It doesn't happen a lot that I score three goals in a game," said Backstrom. It was fun. The biggest thing is that we got two points. That is what we needed."
Tyler Johnson and Matt Carle each scored late in the third period and Ben Bishop made 24 saves for Tampa Bay, which has dropped three of its last four.
After a scoreless first, Tampa Bay was unable to take advantage of a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes after Mike Green went off for hooking and Ovechkin sat for roughing at 6:49 of the second.
The Capitals gained momentum after the big penalty kill and got on the board a few minutes later when Backstrom cruised into the slot and lifted a backhander over Bishop at 10:33.
Ovechkin slipped a pass back to Backstrom, who had initial shot turned aside, but tapped in the rebound for a 2-0 lead with 1:20 remaining in the middle stanza.
Backstrom raced up the slot, took a dish from Ovechkin and tallied the hat trick after his wrister found twine 2:17 into the third.
The Lightning pulled within a goal late in regulation. Johnson scored on a wrister from the right circle with under five minutes remaining and Carle weaved around a defender before beating Holtby less than two minutes later.
Tampa Bay pulled Bishop with over a minute to play, but Fehr fired a puck into the empty net to seal the win.
Midway through the first, Valtteri Filppula skated around the back of the net and slipped a pass to Steven Stamkos, who deposited the puck into a wide-open net. The referees, however, conferred and waved off the goal, ruling that Ryan Callahan interfered with Holtby.
"Obviously, we wanted it to be counted, we wanted it to go in because it's a big momentum swing but it doesn't and you have to live with that and continue to play," Callahan said.
Washington held a 12-2 shot advantage after the opening 20 minutes of play.
The Capitals have won 17 of their last 21 home games against Tampa Bay since the start of the 2007-08 season ... Ovechkin scored twice in Washington's 5-3 win over the Lightning on Tuesday ... Tampa Bay defenseman Radko Gudas was a late scratch due to a stomach virus ... The Capitals are now 13-1-2 when scoring first ... Washington forward Jason Chimera was a healthy scratch.