TAMPA, Fla. (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 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.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.