With just four games remaining, the Lightning have a three-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers for the top seed in the East. They have 101 points, tying them with the Detroit Red Wings for the highest total in the NHL.
“We are playing fun hockey,” Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina said. “We want to continue playing in the playoffs like tonight. We’re building our confidence.”
Kubina put the Lightning up 1-0 at 8:32 of the second, getting his 17th goal of the season—a franchise record for a defenseman. Roman Hamrlik had 16 in 1995-96.
Washington lost 3-2 to the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday.
Matthew Yeats made his first NHL start, stopping 30 of 33 shots. Yeats, who made his NHL debut the previous night, got a chance when Washington decided to keep two more qualified goalies with its AHL affiliate, which is contending for a playoff spot.
Olaf Kolzig, the Capitals’ No. 1 goalie, got the night off in the second of back-to-back games.
The Capitals are 1-1-9 in March.