Series (Game 4 of 6)

Washington leads 6-0

Game 1: Monday, November 10th
Game 2: Thursday, January 1st
Game 3: Saturday, February 14th
Game 4: Thursday, March 19th
Game 5: Friday, March 27th
Game 6: Thursday, April 9th

Capitals 5

(45-22-6, 96 pts)

Lightning 2

(23-33-15, 61 pts)

7:30 PM ET, March 19, 2009

Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida

1 2 3 T
WSH 2 0 35
TB 1 1 02

M. Green (Capitals - D): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

A. Ovechkin (Capitals - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

M. Lashoff (Lightning - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Ovechkin opens with 50th, closes with two helpers to lead Caps' romp

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Ovechkin made history -- and made some people mad, too.

Goal Getter

Alex Ovechkin is nearing the end of his fourth NHL season, and already the Russian sniper is rewriting the Capitals' record books.

50-Goal Seasons
Capitals History
No. of Seasons Last Season
Alex Ovechkin 3 2008-09
Peter Bondra 2 1997-98
Denis Maruk 2 1981-82
Bob Carpenter 1 1984-85
Mike Gartner 1 1984-85

Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 50th goal to become Washington's first three-time 50-goal scorer, and defenseman Mike Green had two goals in the Capitals' 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

After the first-period goal, Ovechkin followed through with a plan to put his stick on the ice and pretend to warm his hands over it.

"I think he's a terrific player. He went down a notch in my books after that," Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's not something I like. It's hard for me to accept, to see something like that in our building."

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said he planned to speak to Ovechkin about the orchestrated showmanship.

"He has never done that with me that I've seen," Boudreau said. "He celebrates, but I think that was a little planned out."

Fast Facts

• Alex Ovechkin became just the third player in NHL history to score 50-plus goals in three of his first four seasons. The only other two to do that were Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky. Bossy scored 50-plus in each of his first nine seasons and Gretzky in each of his first eight.

• Ovechkin's 213 goals since his rookie season of 2005-06 are the most in the NHL in that span. Ilya Kovalchuk is second with 182.

• Green scored his 26th and 27th goals to tie Ray Borque (1980-81) for the most goals by a defenseman in a season in which he played fewer than 70 games -- the most Green can play is 68.

• The Caps have won five of six after a four-game winless streak.

-- ESPN research

Green knew what to expect when Ovechkin reached the milestone, but he preferred to admire it from a distance.

"He told me he was going to do it," Green said. "He wanted me to join in, but there was no way I'd join in on that. I just kind of stood back and let him do what he does."

Ovechkin, who also had two assists, opened the scoring 7:43 into the first period.

The 23-year-old Russian star took a pass from center Nicklas Backstrom and carried the puck up the right side. Ovechkin deked Matt Pettinger out of position and snapped a wrist shot from the right circle past rookie goalie Mike McKenna.

"It feels pretty good actually," Ovechkin said. "Today was a lucky goal, I think. It's done right now. No pressure. Nothing."

Stanley Cup Schedule

Want to know your team's matchup for the playoffs? Check out the playoff schedule here:

• Playoff matchups

Ovechkin, who has 213 goals in 315 career regular-season games, had 52 goals as a rookie in 2005-06, 46 in 2006-07 and 65 last season.

Ovechkin also assisted on third-period goals by Green and Michael Nylander. Viktor Kozlov notched his second and third assists of the game on those goals.

Matt Bradley sealed the victory with a goal at the 12:26 mark.

Tampa Bay rookie center Steven Stamkos answered Ovechkin's goal with a power-play score with 2:21 left in the first period, but Green -- the NHL leader among defensemen with 27 goals -- put the Capitals back in front 10 seconds before the intermission.

Right wing Marty St. Louis tied it at 2 with 4:06 remaining in the second period. He has five goals and five assists during a seven-game points streak.

Washington has won nine straight against Tampa Bay, which hasn't defeated its Southeast Division rival since Nov. 16, 2007. The Lightning have allowed four or more goals in each of the last six meetings.

Game notes

Washington LW Donald Brashear sat out his fifth consecutive game because of a sprained knee. ... Washington has won seven of its past eight road games. ... Tampa Bay has lost five straight and eight of nine at home. ... The Capitals hold a 21-9 scoring advantage in the four meetings this season. ... Capitals goalie Simeon Varlamov made 26 saves. McKenna finished with 25.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press