Caps stay in playoff hunt, beat Boston 3-2 in SO

JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer Published:

BOSTON (AP) -- Brooks Laich scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give Washington a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night and help the Capitals keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Washington is tied with Buffalo with 86 points in pursuit of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Sabres remain ahead because they have five games remaining and the Capitals have four.

The Bruins could have clinched a playoff berth with a win. The defending Stanley Cup champions will try again when they play the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist in a 1:55 span midway through the third period to give Washington a 2-0 lead. But the Bruins tied it with two goals in the final 3:10, by David Krejci and Andrew Ference.

Tim Thomas made 21 saves for the Bruins. Michal Neuvirth stopped 19 shots after coming in at the end of the first period when Tomas Vokoun left with an apparent injury.

No information about Vokoun's condition was immediately available.

Washington came into the game trailing idle Buffalo by two points, but the importance of the game did not seem to register. The Capitals managed just one shot in the first 8 minutes, and just two overall in the first period.

They did not help themselves when Jason Chimera was given a game misconduct late in the first for a charge that sent Adam McQuaid into the boards and knocked him out of the game. No further information on McQuaid's condition was immediately available.

The Capitals killed off the 5-minute major, but not before Vokoun headed to the locker room. Still, Neuvirth managed to keep them in it until the third period.

Wideman, a former Bruin, beat Thomas over his left shoulder with 12:01 remaining in regulation. Less than 2 minutes later, Alexander Ovechkin picked up his second assist when he worked a 2-on-1 and drew Zdeno Chara out to the left circle before feeding to Johansson in the middle for another goal.

It stayed that way until Chara flipped a wrist shot from the blue line toward the net and Krejci tipped it out of the air and into the goal with 3:10 to play in the third period. Just 1:55 later, Andrew Ference put it past Neuvirth to tie it and send the game into overtime.

Each team had good chances to score in overtime. But it came down to a shootout.

Krejci missed, then Matt Hendricks faked Thomas out so badly that the reigning Vezina Trophy-winner fell on his behind. Tyler Seguin tied it 1-1 with a backhander, then Ovechkin missed, putting it off Thomas glove and high into the netting above the glass.

Patrice Bergeron put the puck through Neuvirth's legs to give Boston a 2-1 lead in the shootout, but Alexander Semin's backhander tied it.

In sudden death, Rich Peverly put it off the goalie's left pad, then Laich went straight in and shot the puck into the goal over Thomas' glove to give the Capitals the win.

Notes: Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg missed the game because of an infection resulting from a cut in Saturday's game against Los Angeles. Joe Corvo replaced him in the lineup after missing six games as a healthy scratch. ... The Bruins announced before the game that playoff tickets would go on sale on Friday. ... McQuaid, who went into the boards in an awkward position, remained on the ice for several minutes and skated off slowly with an escort.