Lightning strike 1st but can't stop Capitals, begin road trip with a loss

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alex Ovechkin and Devante Smith-Pelly each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer stopped 25 shots for his first victory of the season and the Washington Capitals beat Tampa Bay 3-1 on Friday night to end the Lightning's six-game road winning streak.

Jay Beagle clinched the victory for the Capitals, scoring into an empty net with 2:08 to go.

Ovechkin's second goal in two games and 15th overall followed a six-game drought. His resurgence comes after coach Barry Trotz placed Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the same line Wednesday night for the first time this season.

Although the Lightning (16-4-2) are off to the best start in franchise history, they couldn't find a way to snap their run of poor outings against the Capitals, especially in Washington. Tampa Bay has lost five straight in the nation's capital and is 2-8 in its last 10 games against the Caps.

Vladislav Namestnikov scored the lone goal for the Lightning, a power-play tally in the opening two minutes. Tampa Bay was seeking to match the franchise record for consecutive road wins -- seven straight from Jan. 7-Feb. 1, 2007.

Grubauer (1-5-1) and Washington held Tampa Bay's high-scoring duo of Steve Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov in check. Stamkos leads the NHL with 36 points and Kucherov came in with a league-leading 17 goals.

Smith-Pelly put the Capitals up 2-1 in the second period, flicking home the rebound of a shot by Beagle from the left circle.

That would be last puck to get past Andrei Vasilevskiy, who finished with 36 saves.

Tampa Bay wasted no time racing to a 1-0 lead. With Washington's Brooks Orpik in the penalty box for hooking, Kucherov took a shot that hit Namestnikov and ricocheted into the net at 1:22.

Ovechkin tied it at 18:36 with a wrist shot from the left circle. Backstrom got the second assist.

Washington outshot Tampa Bay 16-7 in the first period and 14-9 in the second.

NOTES: Ovechkin has 573 goals, tied with Mike Bossy for 21st on the career list. … Tampa Bay has a power-play goal in 18 of 22 games. … Washington is in the midst of playing at home in nine of 10 games. The Capitals are 7-1 at home this month… Tampa Bay's Braydon Coburn played in his 800th NHL game. … The Capitals recalled C Tyler Graovac from the Hershey Bears of the AHL. He did not suit up.


Lightning: At Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

Capitals: Host Toronto on Saturday night.