Ovechkin lifts Caps past Lightning 3-2 in OT
Ovechkin is a two-time NHL MVP mired in his poorest season. He celebrated the end of his three-game point drought by racing over to leap into the boards after taking Dmitry Orlov's assist and netting the 12th overtime goal of his career.
Washington trailed 2-1 late in the third period, before Marcus Johansson forced overtime by scoring with 3:58 left.
Ovechkin's goal ruined the first NHL start by Lightning goalie Dustin Tokarski, who played quite well most of the evening and finished with 29 saves. The 22-year-old Canadian was recalled from Norfolk of the AHL on Wednesday, a day after Mathieu Garon got injured in a game.
Teddy Purcell helped the Lightning take the lead by extending his point streak to 11 games with a goal and an assist on power plays. He has seven goals and 15 assists during that run.
About 11 minutes into the second period, Brett Connolly, a 19-year-old rookie forward, was hit in the head by what appeared to be an elbow from Washington defenseman Mike Green. Connolly stayed down on the ice for a bit, then was taken toward the locker room. He returned before the end of the period.
On the play, defenseman Orlov had Connolly pinned against the boards when Green joined in and knocked Connolly down. There was no penalty called.
Washington led 1-0 after the first period on Keith Aucoin's goal. Ryan Malone tied it for the Lightning at 7:25 of the second when the puck went in off his skate, and Purcell was credited with the go-ahead goal when his shot went in off Capitals defenseman John Carlson's skate with 1:18 left in that period.
The Capitals managed only three shots in the second period, which closed with boos from the stands, a refrain growing more and more common. Washington applied a lot more pressure in the third and OT.
Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun made his first start in seven games, and first at home in a month, and made 24 saves.
Tokarski, who is 20 years younger than Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson, was brought up from the minors because Garon left Tampa Bay's 7-3 loss to Ottawa on Tuesday after only four minutes with an undisclosed lower body injury. Tokarski played a total of 44 minutes as a replacement in two games in October 2010, but he had never been in net to begin an NHL game.
The Capitals tested Tokarski right away, peppering him with shots from all over and taking the first five, all of which he saved without much trouble.
Washington went ahead 1-0 at 17:08 of the first. Defenseman Karl Alzner sent a slap shot toward the net from near the blue line. Aucoin was scrambling for position near the crease with his back to the net, and the puck deflected off one of his skates, then his stick, and flipped past Tokarski.
The tying goal came when NHL leading goal scorer Steven Stamkos' cross went in off Malone's skate on a power play. The call stood after a video review showed Malone didn't kick the puck in.
On the goal that made it 2-1 for Tampa Bay, Purcell's shot was headed toward the net -- where Malone was at the edge of the crease, hoping to knock the puck in -- when it caromed off Carlson.
NOTES: In his last eight games in the minors, Tokarski was 8-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average. ... Tampa Bay opens a season-high, seven-game homestand on Saturday against Carolina. ... After going 2-2-1 on its five-game homestand, Washington will play the next six of seven on the road.