Alexander Semin's timely goal late in the third period and Braden Holtby's excellent goaltending in a relief appearance pushed the Caps to a 2-1 shootout victory over the Lightning in yet another comeback.
After Sean Bergenheim deflected in a Martin St. Louis shot to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 12:30 of the first period, the Caps would keep them at bay (no pun intended). Michal Neuvirth started the game in net, but he took a Nate Thompson wrist shot off of his mask within the first minute. Despite finishing the period, Neuvirth would take a seat on the bench after the first intermission. Holtby did just fine, making 21 saves, including a dazzling stop on Simon Gagne with his stick paddle.
Neuvirth wasn't the only Cap to leave the game. Nicklas Backstrom left the game in the second period and did not return. There is no official word on his status.
For two periods, the Caps could not solve Dwayne Roloson, who already had two shutout victories over them this season. Yet, with about five minutes left, Semin figured him out by firing a wicked wrist shot through Brett Clark and past Roloson to tie the game at 1-1.
In overtime, Washington would fire 10 shots on Roloson, with many of them coming on a 4-on-3 power play when Pavel Kubina hooked Brooks Laich. Both Alex Ovechkin and Laich found themselves with great scoring chances in the extra session, but could not capitalize.
Ovechkin, however, would make up for it by scoring the lone shootout goal. Holtby would stop Dominic Moore, Adam Hall and Vincent Lecavalier to seal the win for Washington.
The Caps have won five straight for the first time since October 30-November 9. Washington also won its NHL-leading 20th game when trailing first and is the only team in the NHL with an over-.500 record when trailing first. With a two-point lead in the Southeast Division, the Caps return home to face the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday.