Caps Close Out Regular Season With Comeback Win Over Bruins
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WASHINGTON — Eric Fehr scored on a power play 3:23 into overtime, and the Washington Capitals, with nothing at stake Saturday night, came back for a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins, who are trying to win the Northeast Division.
Boston entered the day tied with the Montreal Canadiens, who beat Toronto 4-1 to grab the division lead. The Bruins need to beat Ottawa on Sunday night to take the title.
The NHL regular season originally was supposed to end Saturday, but the game between Bruins and Senators was rescheduled because of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference to put Boston ahead 2-0 before Washington captain Alex Ovechkin assisted on Mike Green’s two power-play scores within less than two minutes in the third period.
Ovechkin didn’t get a goal himself, leaving his league-leading total at 32.
It was Green who took a shot in overtime that was blocked by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, and Fehr was in the right spot to poke in the rebound. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was in the penalty box after a hooking call.
The Bruins already had clinched a playoff spot and will be the No. 2 seed if they win the division or No. 4 if not.
Washington will face the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. The Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 4-0 earlier in the day to avoid the eighth spot in the East.
The Capitals have been locked into the No. 3 seed as Southeast Division champion since Tuesday. So the results did not really matter when they played Thursday and Saturday.
Saturday was a rematch of a tight and testy first-round playoff series won by Washington in seven games last season, and things got scrappy this time, too. In the closing minutes, Chara slammed Washington center Nicklas Backstrom into the boards in a corner, dislodging a piece of glass. Seconds later, Ovechkin and Boston’s Brad Marchand exchanged some words and shoves and both got roughing penalties.
Boston went ahead 1-0 about 10 minutes into the game, when David Krejci won a faceoff and sent the puck back to Lucic, whose shot deflected off Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner’s right skate and sailed past goalie Braden Holtby.
Ference doubled Boston’s lead 7:49 into the second period with a wrister from near the right circle while Lucic screened Holtby. That inspired a chorus of “Let’s go, Bruins!” chants from some Boston fans in the stands, which were dotted with black-and-yellow jerseys of the visiting team.
About 30 seconds later, Rask blocked a close-range shot by Troy Brouwer, and Martin Erat’s attempt to knock in the rebound flew wide of the net.
Rask lost his shutout bid 5½ minutes into the third period — and 15 seconds into a power play — when Green wristed in a shot from inside the blue line. That was part of a stretch in which Boston was whistled for three penalties, two on Adam McQuaid, in a span of about three minutes.
After the second, Green converted from nearly the same spot as his earlier goal, 115 seconds later.
NOTES: Ex-Capitals forward Jaromir Jagr was scratched because of what the Bruins said were flulike symptoms. … Ovechkin led the NHL in goals in 2007-08 and 2008-09. … Before the game, the Capitals announced they signed G Michal Neuvirth to a $5 million, two-year contract extension. That means he’ll be paid more than usual starter Holtby, who signed a $3.7 million, two-year deal in February. “While some people may consider Michal a backup this year, we don’t consider him a backup,” Capitals general manager George McPhee said. “We think he’s an outstanding goaltender. And he’s been a great pro this year. Hasn’t played as much as he wanted to — and didn’t whine and didn’t create any issues.” … Asked about the status of injured F Brooks Laich, sidelined since April 4 with a groin injury, McPhee said that if Laich starts skating in the next two weeks, the player could be ready in time for the second round of the playoffs. “Maybe before that, though, with this guy,” McPhee said.
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