Washington -- Brent Johnson made 34 saves, Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist, and the Washington Capitals defeated Olaf Kolzig and the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 before an announced 17,932 at Verizon Center. Washington is now 6-0-1 at home in the 2008-09 campaign.

Kolzig received a warm reception from the fans during the player introductions, the National Anthem, and in a video tribute in the first television timeout. But his former teammates treated him rudely, scoring on their first two shots of the game, though neither could really be attributed to the veteran goalie.

"After the game, I told the guys, 'Why try when you are down 3-0? Why do it then?"' Lightning coach Barry Melrose said. "It was very disappointing to play like that in front of Olie in Washington. ... Probably the biggest game he's played in years and they show up and do that for him. Those guys should all be hiding their eyes when they walk by Olie Kolzig tonight."

Tampa Bay played poorly in the first period, but the Caps were definitely taking it to them. D Tom Poti scored on the first shot of the game, on a perfect cross-ice pass from tough guy Donald Brashear. Brashear carried the puck into the offensive zone, pulled up at the short boards, then slid the puck though to Poti, who deposited the puck top shelf against Kolzig from point blank range.

Less than two minutes later, Ovechkin found Mike Green pinching in and Green blasted it glove side against "Olie the Goalie." Eric Fehr finished out the first period scoring with a slap shot from the top of the face off circle on a pass from Brooks Laich. Coach Bruce Boudreau, in his post-game comments, said his "North America Line" of Fehr, Laich and Steckel were "by far the best line we had," on this night.

Boudreau continued, "I don't want to diss a win," but then did, expressing concern with his team's "fancy" play, notably LW Alexander Semin passing on a shot when he was alone in the slot in order to pass to linemate Nicklas Backstrom. "I think this team has an awful lot more to give."

The coach had nothing but praise for his goalie though. Johnson, making his fourth consecutive start, was excellent once again. He gave up just two power play goals to veteran winger Gary Roberts, one with 26 seconds remaining in the game. He was clearly the first star of the game with a save percentage of 94.4%. When asked the last time he's had a four game stretch such as this, Johnson chuckled, "It's been a while." Earlier in the day, Johnson was named the NHL Third Star of the Week for his play last week, and he's off to a good start for next week.

About the possibility of starting Wednesday in Carolina, Johnson again laughed it off, knowing he was being baited, "I'm just going to do whatever Coach wants me to do. If I go on Wednesday, I go on Wednesday. If not, that's it."

The Caps' fourth goal was late in the third period, on a tip in from Alex Ovechkin standing in the crease. Alexander Semin gathered a pass from defenseman Jeff Schultz, wheeled at the face off circle and put the puck right on Ovechkin's stick. Ovechkin even commented afterwards that the puck skipped just at the last and went in off the shaft instead of the blade. Maybe the bounces are returning for last year's MVP, this being his first goal in nine games.

Photos (c) C. Nichols 2008.

WAS: Poti (2) from Brashear and Erskine (1-8:20); Green (5) from Ovechkin and Backstrom (1-9:55); Fehr (1) from Laich and Steckel (1-16:24); Ovechkin (3) from Semin and Schultz (3-15:44)
TBY: Roberts (1) from Recchi and St. Louis (2-16:30-PP); Roberts (2) from Eminger and Jokinen (3-19:34-PP)

GOOD: Once again, Brent Johnson. Ladies and gentlemen, here's the Caps Number One Goalie, at least for the foreseeable future. He was the NHL's Third Star of the Week last week, where Numbers One and Two were goalies as well. He's been almost perfect, and coaches are loathe to give a hot goalie a night off. Johnson's manner in the locker room can't be better either, and his teammates are really rallying around him.

BAD: Not too much here, other than, as the Coach pointed out during the post-game presser, all the fancy passing. Both Ovechkin AND Semin passed on shots in the first period when they were open. Hard to imagine anyone needing to implore Ovie and Semin to shoot, but there you have it.

UGLY: Tampa Bay in the first period and Barry Melrose post-game. Tampa was TERRIBLE in the first period, and it's only because the Caps were passing on shot that it could have been worse. Melrose was visibly red-faced and angry after he addressed the media after the game, frustration for a miserable performance. His team just never caught up from the lousy start.
NEXT GAME: Wednesday, November 12 at Carolina Hurricanes at 7:00 pm.

RECORD: 8-4-2-18, tied with Carolina for first in the Southeast Division. Three-game winning streak.

NOTES: Semin's assist on Ovechkin's goal gave him 22 points, tying him with Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for the league lead.

Three players on the Lightning roster -- Kolzig, C Jeff Halpern and L Matt Pettinger -- have played more games with Washington than anyone currently with the Capitals. Kolzig holds the franchise record with 711 games played in a Washington uniform.

RW Viktor Kozlov, D Shaone Morrison and C/D Sergei Federov all sat with lingering injuries.