Washington, DC – Mike Green's goal with 2:01 left in overtime gave the Washington Capitals a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
The Caps had blown a 5-1 lead, seeing the Bolts tie the game with three goals in the third period, but a slashing call to Vincent Lecavalier in the extra session gave the hosts a man advantage.
Mike Ribeiro held the puck along the low right circle and fed it back to the high slot for Green, who blasted a shot past Mathieu Garon for the win.
The victory, Washington's seventh straight, gives the team 48 points on the season and a four-point lead over idle Winnipeg for first place in the Southeast Division. Both teams have six games remaining on the schedule.
Alex Ovechkin and Eric Fehr each posted a goal and an assist while Braden Holtby had 35 saves in the win.
Martin St. Louis and Richard Panik each scored twice for the Lightning, who have lost four of five. Ben Bishop was pulled after one period for giving up three goals on 20 shots while Garon made 15-of-18 stops the rest of the way.
"You take it as a loss, ultimately, we ended up losing the game but you can sit here and say a lot of good came out of that loss," said Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper. "We scratched and clawed back to get a point, ultimately we didn't finish them off. It's tough when you take the penalty and half the overtime is going to be a four-on-three."
Trailing by three goals, Panik scored his second of the game 4:23 into the third and St. Louis made it a one-goal game four minutes later when he shot home a rebound from the right side.
With time winding down, the Lightning tied the game after Tom Pyatt centered the puck from behind the net and Teddy Purcell switched to the backhand for his 11th of the season with 2:35 to play to send the game to overtime.
"Guess there is no really easy explanation," said Washington head coach Adam Oates. "First of all, they are a good team. And everything went our way in the first period. You lose a little bit of momentum because it was a little too easy, you get a little flat and all of a sudden, here they come. You start sinking yourself and before you know it, it's happening pretty fast."
The second half of the first period was all Washington as the team scored three times, starting with Troy Brouwer's power-play goal at the 13:45 mark.
Holding the puck in the right corner boards, Ribeiro sent a pass to the right circle where Brouwer one-timed it with one skate on the ice for his 16th goal of the season.
Exactly five minutes later, the Caps made it a 2-0 game as Jay Beagle sent a pass from the right wing to Jack Hillen trailing in the slot and his wrist shot beat Bishop to the glove side.
Ovechkin made it a 3-0 contest 37 seconds later when he caught up to the puck along with right wing in the Tampa end and blew past Bishop before putting a backhand in for his league-leading 27th goal of the season.
With Garon in net to start the second, Washington added to its lead on a 3- on-1 break as Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perreault worked the puck with Chimera finishing off the play for his second of the year at the 2:41 mark.
Tampa finally got on the board just over a minute later when Panik took a Pyatt pass in the slot and cut to the backhand before slipping it in, but Washington answered at 5:26 on Fehr's eighth of the season.
St. Louis' shot from the left circle beat Holtby to the glove with 1:13 to play in the second and it was a 5-2 game after two periods.
Ribeiro's assist on Brouwer's goal was the 600th point of his career ... Tampa center Nate Thompson left the contest eight minutes in when he was hit in the right cheek by a shot from Green. The shot hit his visor, knocking it off, and he left the ice with a cut on his face ... Pyatt had three assists in the game ... Tampa plays in Buffalo on Sunday ... Washington hosts Toronto on Tuesday ... Washington won three of four games against Tampa Bay this season.