WASHINGTON – Martin St. Louis scored off a rebound 2:54 into overtime, and Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves in his Tampa Bay debut, leading the Lightning to a 1-0 victory over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night that broke the teams' tie for the lead atop the Southeast Division.
St. Louis poked the puck past Semyon Varlamov after a shot by Pavel Kubina ricocheted out, ending Washington's three-game winning streak.
The Lightning have won nine of 11 and moved into a tie with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference lead with 53 points.
Tampa Bay acquired the 41-year-old Roloson from the New York Islanders in a trade Saturday. He wore a mask with the Islanders' orange and blue colors and logo.
Roloson is the oldest goalie in the NHL — Varlamov, in contrast, is 22 — but he played brilliantly against Washington, stopping 21 shots in the second period alone. He wasn't forced to make his first save until he kicked away Alex Ovechkin's shot with a little less than 12 minutes left in the first period, but was challenged repeatedly the rest of the way.
Tampa Bay accumulated a 12-5 advantage in shots in the first period; Washington held a 21-13 edge in the second. But neither team could get the puck in the net until the extra period, because Roloson and Varlamov were too good.
For Varlamov, it was a continuation of his recent run of strong play. He went into Tuesday with a 3-0 record and 1.00 goals-against average in his past three starts and earned honors Monday as the NHL's first star of the week.
There was a pregame celebration of Washington's 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh in the Winter Classic outdoors on New Year's Day — and even a plug from the public-address announcer for Wednesday's finale of the four-part HBO behind-the-scenes series tied to that game.
Saturday's prime-time showcase was the most-watched regular-season NHL game since 1975.
For the Capitals, Tuesday's game represented a return to normalcy: indoors, at home and no more cameras following their every move.
This matchup was nothing like the two previous games this season between Washington and Tampa Bay. The Capitals outscored the Lightning by a combined 12-3 — scoring six goals each time — in those meetings, both in November at Washington.
NOTES: Capitals C Matt Hendricks kept swinging away after winding up with his red jersey pulled over his helmet — making him look as if he was wearing a Headless Horseman costume — while trading punches with Lightning RW Steve Downie midway through the second period. Both got 5-minute penalties for fighting, then yelled at each other from the boxes. ... Capitals D Tom Poti returned after missing three games with an undisclosed injury. ... The Lightning opened a four-game road trip; they play at Pittsburgh on Wednesday. ... Ovechkin has only four goals in his last 23 games. ... Washington forward Alexander Semin had a hat trick in each of the teams' earlier games this season, but hasn't scored in 13 games. Semin's last goal came Nov. 28.