TAMPA, Fla. — Braden Holtby came up big early on and then throughout the third period to continue his winning ways.
Holtby made 35 saves to win for the 10th time in his last 11 starts and the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Saturday night.
“You can’t say enough about him,” Washington defenseman John Carlson said. “I Feel like a broken record talking about him all the time, but he performs every single night. He’s there for us.”
Holtby stopped Valtteri Filppula’s shot from just outside the crease, and a scoring chance from the slot by Nikita Kucherov during a 15-second stretch 5 minutes into the game.
Washington got goals from Jay Beagle and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The Capitals, coming off a 4-1 loss Thursday at Florida, have not lost two games in a row this season.
Kucherov scored for the Lightning, who head out on a three-game road trip that includes a matchup Tuesday night at Toronto in which Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be in the spotlight. The Ontario native can become a free agent after this season, which has been a topic of great discussion in the Toronto media.
Stamkos had an assist, but saw his goal-scoring drought reach eight consecutive games.
Kuznetsov put the Capitals ahead 2-0 at 11:16 of the second when he headed behind the net and reached back with his stick to send the puck past Ben Bishop.
“A great play,” Bishop said.
Bishop finished with 18 saves.
Kucherov’s power-play goal from the right circle pulled Tampa Bay to 2-1 at 8:05 of the third. He has five goals over his past four games.
“It’s tough because the guys gave a phenomenal effort tonight,” Lightning coach Jon Copper said. “I thought the guys deserved a better fate. Ultimately, you need to get more than one.”
Tampa Bay outshot the Capitals 15-1 in the third.
“We knew they were going to make their push,” Beagle said. “Obviously, Holt stood on his head.”
Washington also blocked 23 shots during the game.
Beagle opened the scoring at 2:09 of the first from a tough angle along the goal line. It stopped an 11-game goal drought for the center.
Alex Ovechkin nearly got his 15th goal this season and 490th overall midway through the first, but his shot hit the post. Dmitry Orlov hit the post and Andre Burakovsky had a shot go off the crossbar later in the period.
Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat left after playing five shifts in the first period. It was his second game back after missing 12 straight with an ankle injury.
NOTES: The Capitals are 14-1-0 when scoring first. … Tampa Bay C Tyler Johnson sat out for the seventh time in the last 11 games due to undisclosed injuries. He may miss a few more games before returning. … Lightning LW Jonathan Drouin was a late scratch with a lower body injury. … Washington is 7-0-1 in Saturday games this season.
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