Capitals

Lightning Strikes Twice Late, Caps Fall In Tampa

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credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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TAMPA, Fla. (CBSDC/AP) — Steven Stamkos scored two late goals, giving him a NHL-best 58 this season, and the Tampa Bay Lightning handed the playoff-hopeful Washington Capitals a damaging 4-2 loss on Monday night.

Stamkos gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead with 1:03 left, just 2:14 after Jason Chimera tied it for Washington, when he put in a rebound after goalie Michal Neuvirth had stopped Brett Clark’s shot from the blue line. Stamkos then scored into an empty net at 19:58.

Washington, which also got a goal from Alexander Semin, is in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals have a two-point lead over the Buffalo Sabres with two games remaining. The Sabres have three games left.

The Capitals, who were coming off back-to-back wins, are three points behind Southeast Division-leading Florida.

Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman also scored for the Lightning, who have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Chimera tied it at 2 with his 20th goal of the season, coming from in-close with 3:17 left in the third.

Purcell and Hedman had goals 25 seconds apart late in the second. After Purcell scored from the left circle during a power play with 2:40 to go, Hedman beat Neuvirth with a shot from the blue line that put the Lightning ahead 2-1 at 17:45.

Semin gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead from the top of the right circle following a Tampa Bay turnover at 12:47 of the second.

Tampa Bay’s Dwayne Roloson stopped several good scoring chances in first, including shots from Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble. He made a second-period glove save on Mike Green, who whacked his stick on the glass in frustration.

Neuvirth stopped a shot from the slot by Stamkos, and rookie J.T. Brown’s in-close chance during the second.

NOTES: Stamkos added an assist, giving him three assists and 11 points during a six-game point streak. … Semin, who also had an assist, has 23 goals and 43 points in 39 games against Tampa Bay. … Purcell snapped his 11-game goal drought, dating to March 8 against the Capitals. … Washington G Tomas Vokoun is out with a groin strain. He has played just once — for 18 minutes last Thursday — in the last nine games. … Lightning C Nate Thompson earned his first assist in 26 games when he helped set up Hedman’s goal.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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