WASHINGTON (AP) - Brayden Point scored two first-period goals, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 35 shots to earn his NHL-leading 35th victory and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 4-2 Tuesday night in a matchup between division leaders.
Chris Kunitz also scored in the opening period, which ended with Tampa Bay up 3-0. That was enough of a cushion for Vasilevskiy, an All-Star who came in with a 2.34 goals-against average.
After Alex Ovechkin notched his NHL-high 36th goal for Washington to make it 3-2 at 11:02 of the third period, Nikita Kucherov clinched it with a breakaway goal with 7:02 remaining.
The victory improved Tampa Bay's NHL-best record to 40-17-3 and kept the Lightning ahead of surging Boston in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.
Lars Eller scored a power-play goal for the Capitals, who lead Pittsburgh by one point in the Metropolitan Division.
Seeking to end a five-game losing streak in Washington, Tampa Bay took control early behind Point, a 21-year-old playing in his second NHL season. After Point beat Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby with a power-play goal at 2:30, Kunitz scored on a deflection at 16:00 before Point split two defenders and delivered a backhander for his 23rd goal of the season at 17:52.
It was the fifth career two-goal game for Point, who's still seeking his first hat trick. The All-Star center did, however, extend his point-scoring streak to five games.
Eller scored his 12th goal of the season at 9:32 of the second period.
NOTES: Kucherov leads Tampa Bay with 32 goals and 78 points. ... One day after being obtained in trade with Chicago, Capitals D Michal Kempny participated in pre-game warmups but was scratched. ... Holtby fell to 9-3-2 lifetime against Tampa Bay. ... The Lightning won the season series 2-1. ... Ovechkin is now six goals short of 600 for his career. He's scored 43 against Tampa Bay in 65 games.
Lightning: At Ottawa on Thursday night, the second of three straight road games.
Capitals: At Florida on Thursday night. Series tied 1-1, with each team winning on road.