After racing out to a 3-0 lead, the Washington Capitals held on for a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night. Troy Brouwer added an empty net goal with a little over a minute remaining to notch his first professional hat trick. The goal sealed the victory and improved the Caps' record to 23-17-2.
It seemed Brouwer's goal may have removed the doubt, but the Bolts had made it plenty interesting in the third, peppering Caps netminder Tomas Vokoun and controlling the action. Steven Stamkos notched his 30th goal of the season, beating Vokoun on the power play. It was originally ruled no goal but review clearly showed Stamkos's shot from in front deflect off the post, hit the goal camera and pop back out onto the ice. The review put the goal on the board and spun the clock back.
Even after the empty netter by Brouwer, Tampa still threatened to even it up. Vincent Lecavalier cut the lead in half with 11 seconds left. Then, off a faceoff win, the Bolts managed to get a shot on Vokoun that hit the side of the net before time expired.
It was Washington's sixth straight win at home, highlighted by Brouwer's hat trick and Alex Oveckin's opening goal on Dwayne Roloson. Washington now hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon, looking to make it seven in a row at Verizon Center.
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