Semin scores three in third to lift Caps

Alexander Semin scored three third-period goals and added two assists, Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists and the Washington Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 Thursday night for their sixth straight victory.

With the score tied at 2, Semin converted on a power play with 15:27 left, knuckling a shot from between the circles past Lightning goalie Dan Ellis. With 9:14 remaining, Semin one-timed a pass from Nicklas Backstrom pass for his team-high 11th goal and a two-goal lead.

Semin added an empty-net goal with 16 seconds remaining.

Tom Poti and Mike Knuble also scored for Washington. Backstrom had four assists.

Steven Stamkos, the NHL’s scoring leader, had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone also scored for Tampa Bay, which has lost three of four.

Purcell’s goal midway through the first period gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. Purcell skated to the left of the goal when be batted Sean Bergenheim’s rebound out of midair and past Michal Neuvirth.

Poti, returning to the Washington lineup after missing eight games with a groin injury, tied it 2:21 into the second period. Left uncovered along the right wing, Poti used a backhand shot to sweep Semin’s rebound by Ellis for his first goal of the season.

At 7:51, Knuble put the Capitals ahead with a goal from behind the goal line. When Brook Laich’s shot skittered wide right, Knuble collected the loose puck and tucked it inside the right post.

Tampa Bay tied the game early in the third period after Washington’s John Erskine went off for boarding. Malone was at the right post to knock in the rebound of Martin St. Louis’ drive from just inside the blue line at 2:43, the Lightning’s first power-play goal in five tries.

The tie didn’t last long. After Dominic Moore was penalized for hooking Semin, Semin made it 3-2 with a power-play goal, a shot from between the circles that bounced through Ellis at 4:33.

After Semin scored twice, Stamkos got the Lightning within a goal with his league-leading 14th goal, a shot from between the circles off a centering pass. But Ovechkin restored the two-goal cushion, scoring on a delayed penalty call with 4:52 to go.