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Capitals hand Lightning another loss

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Eric Fehr has found a scoring touch for the improving Washington Capitals.

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Fehr scored two goals, Mathieu Perreault had three assists, and the Capitals won their third straight game by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Thursday.

``I definitely want to help contribute,'' Fehr said. ``I wasn't happy with the way my season went at all last year, and I really wanted to turn it around. I'm feeling pretty confident right now.''

Troy Brouwer and Jay Beagle had the other Washington goals.

``We had a talk and said the time is now,'' Beagle said. ``We have to start winning and stringing a streak of wins together to try and climb. We're playing a little bit more desperate and it's showing right from the get-go.''

Martin St. Louis, Teddy Purcell and Nate Thompson scored for the Lightning, who have lost six in a row (0-5-1). Tampa Bay backup goalie Mathieu Garon got the start in place of Anders Lindback, who is ill. Garon finished with 35 saves.

``What I find hard today is that our players worked really hard,'' Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. ``Our work ethic is really at its best today. The players really want to get out of this losing streak. So, it's a tough one.''

Washington took a 2-1 lead on Fehr's in-close goal at 5:09 of the second. It was his 100th career point.

Fehr made it 3-1 on a slap shot from the top of the right circle 2:22 into the third. All three of his goals this season have come over the past two games.

``He looks like he's got really good jump,'' Washington coach Adam Oates said. ``It's very noticeable out there. He's got a good stick. He's played better and better every game, and obviously he got rewarded tonight.''

Beagle extended the Washington advantage to 4-1 when he scored while lying on the ice during a goalmouth scramble at 7:29 of the third. It was his first goal in 15 games.

After Purcell scored at 12:02, Thompson's breakaway goal cut the Lightning deficit to 4-3 with 3:13 left. Tampa Bay scored three third-period goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to Montreal on Tuesday night.

``We keep putting ourselves in a hole,'' Purcell said. ``You can't comeback every game. Obviously, that showed tonight. Work ethic is there, but we're just not working smart all the time.''

Brouwer put the Capitals up 1-0 from the slot during a power play 2:40 into the game. He has a goal in three consecutive games.

St. Louis stopped a 10-game goal drought when he jammed a rebound past goalie Braden Holtby at 8:23 of the first. The right wing, who has 26 goals and 73 points in 70 games against Washington, hit the post early in the second.

St. Louis also had an assist, and finished at plus-3.

Holtby finished 27 saves.

Notes: Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin was pointless and finished the game minus-2. He did have five shots on goal. ... Washington C Nicklas Backstrom had an assist, giving him 24 assists and 29 points in 30 games against the Lightning. ... Tampa Bay acquired Cedrick Desjardins from Montreal for Dustin Tokarski in a swap of minor league goalies. ... Washington D John Carlson played in 200th NHL game, making him the 11th player from the 2008 draft class to reach the milestone. He picked up an assist. ... The Lightning assigned LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie and D Brendan Mikkelson to Syracuse of the AHL for conditioning assignments.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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