These are the liberties one can take with a friend:

Lightning wing Marty St. Louis, when asked his reaction to Steven Stamkos scoring his league-best 40th goal Saturday night, looked at his teammate and said with a shrug of indifference, "He should have that many goals with his shot."

Seriously, though, St. Louis said, laughing, "It's great. We're just so used to it."

Stamkos added another chapter in a 2-1 victory over the Capitals at the Tampa Bay Times Forum as the center's breakaway goal 1:50 into the second period was the winner.

But the goal that gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead also was historic as Stamkos, 22, became the first Lightning player with three 40-goal seasons. He also became the fifth NHL player with three such seasons before age 23 with Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Dale Hawerchuk and Alex Ovechkin.

"It's surreal being mentioned with those guys," Stamkos said. "I'm just trying to do everything I can to help this team win every night."

He didn't do it alone. Tom Pyatt's goal 2:10 into the game made it 1-0. The team blocked 23 shots with defenseman Brett Clark getting five, and Mathieu Garon made 23 saves, including a terrific blocker stop on Dennis Wideman's slap shot through a screen with four seconds left.