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Pothier's power-play goal gives Caps edge over Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Brian Pothier made his presence felt a soon as he got back on the ice for the Washington Capitals.

After being scratched for two games, Pothier scored a power-play goal in the third period to give the Caps a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

"I've been struggling for maybe 10 games and ended up costing the team a jersey," Pothier said. "Obviously, when you score and get a couple of points, it's a huge confidence booster."

Tomas Fleischmann and Dave Steckel added goals, and backup goalie Brent Johnson made 23 saves.

"[Johnson is] a winner," Washington interim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "The last two times, anyway. Sometimes he doesn't look pretty making the saves, but we said if he allows two goals or less, we're going to win."

Boudreau was happy to see Pothier redeem himself.

"He sits out two games -- he competed his rear end off," Boudreau said. "For him to get the goal on the power play is great because you need that secondary power play."

Paul Ranger and Vincent Lecavalier scored for Tampa Bay, and Johan Holmqvist made 29 saves after being pulled from his last two starts.

Lecavalier tied the game at two 5:50 into the second with a wrist shot off a backward pass from Vinny Prospal, but Shane O'Brien was called for high-sticking to set up Pothier's goal at 5:06.

"We can't continue to take penalties," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "We're taking too many penalties. [O'Brien's] got to be responsible with that stick. He's had a problem with that all year."

Washington took a 2-1 lead 8 seconds into the second period on Steckel's shot after Pothier won the opening faceoff, but Lecavalier tied the game at 2 about six minutes later with a wrist shot off a backward pass from Prospal.

Ranger scored about five minutes into the game, and Fleischmann, whose assist on Pothier's goal gave him his first multipoint game of the season, answered 10 minutes later.

The Capitals have won four of their last five games, while the Lightning have lost four of five.

Game notes
Ranger has a career-high six goals. ... Washington LW Alex Ovechkingot cut when he was hit in the face by Tampa Bay D Filip Kuba in the second. ... Steckel scored his second career goal. Both have come against the Lightning. ... Tampa Bay has given up 14 goals in its last three games.