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Associated Press
Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone trips over Washington goalie Philipp Grubauer in the second period.

Late goal gives Capitals victory

– Eric Fehr hopes a final-minute victory will jumpstart a positive stretch for the Washington Capitals.

Fehr had two goals, including a tiebreaking redirection with 51.5 seconds left in the third period, as the Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Thursday night.

“These are the kind of games that can be momentum builders for you,” Fehr said. “It wasn’t the prettiest way to win it, but scoring in the last couple of minutes, you could see the excitement on the bench. Hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow.”

Fehr was positioned in close when he tipped Mike Green’s shot past Anders Lindback, helping the Capitals improve to 2-3-3 over their last eight games.

Tampa Bay had pulled even at 3 on Ondrej Palat’s nifty tip-in of Matt Carle’s shot at 14:30 of the third. Martin St. Louis also assisted on the goal to move past Rick Tocchet into sole possession of 89th place on the NHL’s career list with 953 points.

The teams switched ends midway through each period due to what was called “poor ice” in the visitors’ crease.

“I think the one crease, I don’t know if it was a heating issue or something, but the ice was getting really soft,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “There was a thought that it might be a disadvantage in that crease. It didn’t have any effect on the game.”

Washington also got goals from Mikhail Grabovski and Marcus Johansson. Tyler Johnson and B.J. Crombeen had the other goals for the Lightning.

The Capitals won the first meeting 6-5 in a shootout on Dec. 10, a game in which Alex Ovechkin had four goals and Nicklas Backstrom contributed a goal and four assists. Ovechkin and Backstrom each had an assist Thursday.

DEVILS 1, STARS 0: In Newark, N.J., Cory Schneider earned his third shutout of the season and Michael Ryder scored his team-leading 15th goal as New Jersey snapped a three-game winless streak.

HURRICANES 6, MAPLE LEAFS 1: In Raleigh, N.C., Jordan Staal had a goal and three assists, and Jeff Skinner extended his offensive surge with a goal and an assist to lead Carolina.

PANTHERS 2, SABRES 1, SO: In Buffalo, N.Y., Brad Boyes scored in regulation and the shootout, lifting Florida.

DUCKS 4, PREDATORS 3: In Nashville, Tenn., Teemu Selanne scored the go-ahead goal late in the second, and Anaheim got its fifth straight win and 15th in 16 games.

WILD 4, COYOTES 1: In Glendale, Ariz., Justin Fontaine scored three goals, Niklas Backstrom stopped 39 shots and Minnesota won its fourth straight.