December 22, 2019 / 3:10 AM / a month ago

Caps stop Lightning to sweep season series

EditorsNote: Clarifies in 3rd graf; adds detail to 5th and 7th grafs; other minor changes

Dec 21, 2019; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney (35) prepares to make a save on Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) In the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dmitry Orlov scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period, and Nic Dowd added an empty-netter as the Washington Capitals defeated the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Saturday night.

The game was tied 1-1 when two penalties forced Washington to play two men short for 86 seconds. But the Capitals killed off those penalties, and Orlov broke the deadlock less than a minute later with a slap shot from just inside the left point for a 2-1 lead with 6:03 remaining.

Washington was called for another penalty a few minutes later, and Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper pulled goalie Curtis McElhinney with just under four minutes left. That gave the Lightning a 6-on-4 advantage, but Dowd scored a short-handed empty-netter with 2:23 left.

The victory let Washington sweep the three-game season series with Tampa Bay.

Also, Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals was one of four players voted in as captains for the Jan. 25 All-Star Game in St. Louis, home of the defending NHL champion Blues. It is his third straight year as the Metropolitan Division captain.

The Capitals took a 1-0 lead when Radko Gudas fired a long shot past McElhinney 4:40 into the second period. Jonas Siegenthaler dug out the puck behind the net for Washington and sent it over to Lars Eller on the right wing. Eller then found Gudas near the center of the blue line, and the defenseman scored his first goal this season on a shot that snaked its way past McElhinney.

The Capitals had several good shots, and finished with a 35-27 edge in that area, but the Lightning tied it at the 10-minute mark of the third period on a Nikita Kucherov goal. The reigning MVP one-timed a loose puck in the slot into the top right corner.

Tampa Bay had a good chance to take the lead soon after as Washington got those two penalties. But Caps goalie Braden Holtby (26 stops) made at least three tough saves, the defense stepped up, and Washington killed both.

—Field Level Media

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