Capitals 2, Lightning 1

Preview | Box Score | Recap

WASHINGTON (AP)—The player traded for Jaromir Jagr paid a nice dividend, and so did the rookie goaltender called up the day before.

Anson Carter scored his first goal since his return to the Washington Capitals, and Maxime Ouellet made 38 saves Tuesday night in a 2-1 victory that snapped the Tampa Bay Lightning’s six-game winning streak.

Carter had a goal and an assist, giving him four points in five games since he was acquired in the salary-dumping trade that sent Jagr to the New York Rangers.

“I’ve got a lot of pride, and I want to come here and help the Caps get back in the playoffs,” said Carter, who last played for Washington in 1997. “Just because you get traded for a guy making a lot of money doesn’t mean you’re going to forfeit anything.

“As far as myself vs. him, we’re playing on totally different teams. Right now I’m just forced to get an opportunity to come here with the Caps and be in a leadership position.”

Jeff Halpern also scored for the last-place Capitals, who broke a three-game home losing streak. Although next-to-last in the Eastern Conference, Washington is 8-3-1-1 against Southeast Division opponents.

The Lightning had tied a franchise record by winning six straight, but John Tortorella didn’t sound at all like a coach with a 13-point lead in the division.

Asked if the law of averages caught up with his team, the angry coach shot back: “No. Not at all. The law of averages says you’d be a .500 hockey team, so you play the game to win every night. Back-to-back, how many games, how many you’ve won, it doesn’t matter. This isn’t a feel-good thing. We won a few games and you feel good about it, so you lose one and it’s OK. It isn’t OK.”

Ouellet, giving Olaf Kolzig a rare night off, had a stellar game to improve his season record to 2-2-1 and his career record to 2-3-1. Ouellet, recalled from Portland of the AHL on Monday, made his first start for the Capitals since Jan. 4. His other victory was a 5-0 shutout at Atlanta on Dec. 16.

Ouellet was recalled because the Capitals’ other backup goaltender, Rastislav Stana, was sent down to play in the AHL’s All-Star game this weekend.

“You’ve just got to deal with it, whether it’s hard or easy,” Ouellet said of the up-and-down moves. “I have no choice. When I go back and forth I’ve got to make the best out of it, and when I’m here I really have to make my best so I can stay here as long as I want.”

Ouellet was denied a shutout by an odd third-period goal by Vincent Lecavalier. Lecavalier’s shot struck the right post, then hit Ouellet’s facemask before going into the net.

Notes

The Capitals took only one shot on goal in the third period. … Tampa Bay lost in regulation for just the second time in 15 games. … The Lightning’s Martin St. Louis had his 10-game points streak ended. He had nine goals and nine assists during the streak. … Capitals defenseman Jason Doig served the second game of his two-game suspension for kneeing Carolina’s Kevyn Adams. … The Capitals are 16-0 when leading after two periods. … Washington placed defenseman Sergei Gonchar on the injured reserve list Tuesday and recalled center Graham Mink from Portland. Gonchar injured his shoulder Jan. 23at Florida.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
A. Carter A. Carter
Washington Capitals
Scored at 10:48 of 2nd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Nikolai Khabibulin Chi 14 12