TAMPA, Fla. - It was a night of celebrations for the Washington Capitals.
Mike Green set an NHL record for defencemen by a scoring a goal in his eighth consecutive game and the Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Saturday night.
''It's incredible,'' said Green, who was covered with shaving cream applied by his teammates after the game. ''I'm playing with some of the best players in the world.''
Green made it 4-0 from the low slot during a power play at 5:33 of the second. He was mobbed by his teammates who left the bench. Boston's Mike O'Connell had a seven-game goal-scoring run in the 1983-84 season.
''I wasn't expecting that, but I was excited,'' Green said about the on-ice celebration. ''It almost brought a little tear to my eye, so I was pretty jacked up.''
Many have credited Washington coach Bruce Boudreau for helping with Green's improved offence.
''He could have had Mickey Mouse coaching and eventually he was going to be a great hockey player,'' said Boudreau, 8-0 against Tampa Bay. ''I'm just happy I'm the one who that right now is able to coach Mike.''
Alexander Semin, Alex Ovechkin, Shaone Morrisonn and Eric Fehr also scored for Southeast Division-leading Washington, which has won five of seven.
Michal Neuvirth made a glove save on a first-period breakaway by Vincent Lecavalier, and finished with 31 saves to win in his first NHL start. Just like Green, the 20-year old goalie got the post-game shaving cream treatment.
''What can I say? It's unreal. An unreal feeling right now,'' Neuvirth said. ''I still can't believe that. That was my best feeling ever.''
Tampa Bay got a goal from Ryan Malone. The Lightning have lost six of eight.
Green has 10 goals and 17 points over the last eight games, and is one game away from tying the overall Washington consecutive game goal streak set by Alan Haworth (1985-86) and matched by Mike Gartner (1986-87).
Semin returned after missing one game with an undisclosed injury and put the Capitals ahead 1-0 at 5:02 of the first. He picked up the first of two assists on Ovechkin's NHL-best 38th goal from the right circle that made it 2-0 with 6:39 left in the period.
Ovechkin has seven goals and 12 points during an eight-game point streak.
Morrisonn extended the Capitals' advantage to 3-0 with 39.8 remaining in the first. It was his first goal in 17 games.
''I thought the first period we actually played a pretty good period,'' Tampa Bay interim coach Rick Tocchet said. ''We spotted them three goals on turnovers.''
Tampa Bay goalie Mike McKenna was pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first. Malone scored midway through the second.
''Wish I would have been a lot better in the first,'' McKenna said.
Fehr had a third-period goal. He has a goal in three straight games.
Notes: Neuvirth's parents were at the game. Green's father was also in attendance... New Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said ''Let's play hockey'' before the opening faceoff. Morris and current Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin watched Game 5 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, in which Tampa Bay beat Calgary in a seven-game series, from front-row seats. ''Me and Mike Tomlin banging on the glass for those guys, it's exciting,'' said Morris, who also attended Game 7. ... Washington RW Viktor Kozlov (groin) missed his fourth consecutive game. ... Tampa Bay D Marek Malik left with a lower-body injury.