WASHINGTON -- In a game that featured 10 power plays, wild swings of momentum and a four-goal night by Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, it was a shootout goal by right winger Troy Brouwer that proved to the difference in the Capitals' 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ovechkin sent the game into overtime when he scored his fourth goal of the night and 26th of the season with 32.4 seconds remaining in regulation, completing a comeback that began with the Lightning taking a 3-0 lead.
The win was the Capitals (17-12-2) third straight and fifth in six games. They also moved within seven points of the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.
The Lightning received one goal and two assists from right winger Marty St. Louis and center Tyler Johnson, but it was not enough to prevent them from losing for the second straight game and falling to 17-10-3. It was their first shootout loss after winning their previous three.
Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat gave Tampa a lead 8:36 into the third period, but he was stopped on the final attempt of the shootout by rookie Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who relieved Braden Holtby after the Lightning took a 3-0 lead.
The Lightning also received goals from right winger Nikita Kucherov and center Nate Thompson.
Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom recorded a goal and four assists.
Thanks to 18 minutes in penalties to Washington defenseman Mike Green -- all in the first period -- the Lightning built a 3-0 lead on power-play goals by St. Louis and Kucherov and an even-strength tally by Thompson.
Green's double-minor for high sticking center Valtteri Filppula resulted in each of the Lightning's first two goals. The Capitals killed off the next two penalties to Green, but he argued hard enough after his third infraction of the night to warrant a 10-minute misconduct.
After Thompson gave the Lightning a 3-0 lead by finishing a 2-on-1 with right winger J.T. Brown, it seemed a rout was in order.
But a slashing penalty to Tampa center Alex Killorn opened to the door for the Capitals and Ovechkin hammered his first goal of the night past goaltender Ben Bishop, drilling a faceoff win by Backstrom through a screen.
Another Lightning penalty -- this one to defenseman Eric Brewer for holding -- led to the Capitals' second goal of the night, a power-play tally by Backstrom 6:24 into the second period.
Johnson restored the Lightning's two-goal lead with his seventh goal of the season at the 12:41 mark, but another Tampa penalty again tilted the game in Washington's favor.
With 3:29 remaining in the second period, Lightning right winger Richard Panik drove Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner hard into the boards in front of the penalty box for a 5-minute boarding major.
That's when Ovechkin went to work.
The 28-year-old left winger darted into the left faceoff circle to score his second goal of the night off a cross-crease feed from winger Marcus Johansson at the 16:38 mark. Just 2:10 later, with Panik still in the box, Ovechkin took a pass from Green and rifled his third goal of the game and 25th of the season, past Bishop to tie the score at 4.
NOTES: Lightning RW Marty St. Louis entered the game with 939 points in 1,009 games, ranking him 91st on the NHL's all-time points list. Before the game, Hockey Hall of Famer Adam Oates, who ranks 17th all-time with 1,420 points, was asked if St. Louis is a future Hall of Famer. "Yeah," Oates said. "He won a scoring title (twice). (He was) MVP of the league. Won a Stanley Cup. Played a long time. It took him a long time to get there, a late bloomer, but his numbers are there. Borderline superstar, right?" ... Tampa C Steven Stamkos sat out his 13th straight game with a broken right leg. The Lightning entered Tuesday night's game 5-5-2 without their leading goal scorer, who had 23 points in his first 17 games. ... The Capitals were without C Brooks Laich (lower-body injury) for the sixth straight game. Before the game, the Capitals re-assigned D Patrick Wey to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. ... The Capitals entered the game with 92 goals, second behind the Penguins in the Eastern Conference. ... The Capitals return to action Friday night when they visit the Florida Panthers. They follow with back-to-back games against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Lightning return home to face the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, then embark on a three-game road trip to New Jersey, Detroit and Long Island.