Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin acknowledges the crowd after scoring his 50th goal of the season Thursday night in Tampa, Fla. ((Mike Carlson/Associated Press))

Sniper Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 50th goal of the season and defenceman Mike Green had two other markers in the Washington Capitals' 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night in Florida.

Ovechkin, who also had two assists, opened the scoring at 7:43 of the first period.

The 23-year-old Russian star took a pass from Nicklas Backstrom and carried the puck up the right side.

Ovechkin deked Tampa Bay's Matt Pettinger out of position and snapped a wrist shot from the right circle past rookie goalie Mike McKenna.

Ovechkin has 213 goals in 315 career regular-season games. He had 52 goals as a rookie in 2005-06, 46 in 2006-07 and 65 last season.

Tampa Bay rookie centre Steven Stamkos answered Ovechkin's goal with a power-play score with 2:21 left in the first period, but Green — the NHL leader among defencemen with 27 goals — put the Capitals back in front 10 seconds before the intermission.

Right-winger Marty St. Louis tied it at two with 4:06 remaining in the second period. He has five goals and five assists during a seven-game points streak.

Ovechkin assisted on goals by Green and Michael Nylander in the third period, and Matt Bradley finished off the Lightning with a goal at the 12:26 mark.

Washington has nine victories in a row against Tampa Bay, which hasn't defeated its Southeast Division rival since Nov. 16, 2007. The Lightning have allowed four or more goals in each of the teams' last six meetings.