After slumping through their longest losing streak of the season, the Washington Capitals are playing much better of late. Their strong run figures to continue against the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning, whom they've dominated at home.
Washington looks for its 15th win in 16 home meetings with Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.
The Capitals (16-12-2) have won four of five after a four-game slide that saw them total only seven goals. They scored three times during the second period of Sunday's 4-1 win at New York after Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist entered with an 180-minute scoreless streak against the Capitals.
"You get the lead, it obviously makes it a lot easier," coach Adam Oates told the team's website. "We broke the ice first, we got the goal, it gives us a little confidence. And we kept making good decisions with the puck, kept putting it in the right place. It gave us a chance to have another wave and sooner or later we broke them down."
The Lightning (17-10-2) have lost three of four overall and five straight on the road after starting 6-3-0 away from home.
They dropped a 2-1 overtime result on Saturday at home, surrendering the winner 1:04 into the extra period after an Alex Killorn shot deflected off the post moments earlier.
Tampa Bay was outshot 29-17 over the first two periods before claiming a 12-6 shots advantage in the third. The Lightning have one power play goal on 24 chances over last eight games and are averaging 2.1 goals in 12 games since Steven Stamkos was sidelined with a broken tibia. They were averaging 3.1 goals in 17 games prior to his injury.
"It's frustrating because I think we can generate a lot more," Nate Thompson, who scored on a deflection with 1.1 seconds left in the second period, told the team's website. "We have the guys who can step up and do it; it's just a matter of having that shooter mentality. When you have that shooter mentality other things open up."
Backup netminder Anders Lindback was unable to earn his third win despite making 34 saves. Lindback has combined with Ben Bishop to post a 1.43 goals-against average over Tampa Bay's last seven games, though coach Jon Cooper's team is 3-2-2 over that stretch.
Martin St. Louis assisted on Thompson's goal, his team-leading 15th assist of the season but his first in five games. It also increased St. Louis' career point total to 939, ahead of Jason Arnott for 91st all-time. He has six goals and eight assists over his last nine games versus Washington.
Alex Ovechkin has five goals in his last four home games against the Lightning.
The teams combined for 33 goals as Washington won three of four meetings last season.
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