WASHINGTON — Eric Fehr completed a three-point night and a four-goal comeback when he scored 37 seconds into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a stunning 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
Fehr, who was signed by the Capitals on Jan. 13 after no other team offered him a contract, took a pass from Nicklas Backstrom, split defensemen Dennis Seidemberg and Dougie Hamilton, and lifted a highlight reel shot over Tukka Rask for the game-winner.
Fehr also assisted on goals by Tomas Kundratek and Wojtek Wolski, giving him his first three-point night of the season.
The win lifted the Capitals’ record to 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and 9-11-1 overall.
The Bruins lost for just the sixth time this season, falling to 14-3-3 overall.
It was a classic ending to what was a classic playoff series between the two teams last season.
Wolksi sent the game into overtime when he scored his first goal in 12 games with 6:05 remaining in regulation. Wolksi, who was in the Washington lineup only because Troy Brouwer fell ill before the game, slipped behind a Boston defenseman, took a lead pass from Fehr and whacked a backhander through Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask for his first goal since Feb. 1.
The Bruins had a chance to win in regulation when Alex Ovechkin took a hooking penalty on Brad Marchand, but the Caps blocked three shots on the penalty kill and nearly scored themselves when Ovechkin broke out of the box and was stopped by Rask on a netcrashing bull rush.
If the Bruins were looking to avenge their first-round playoff loss they did a nice job of it in the first period, taking a 3-0 lead on goals by Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton.
Marchand, who earned his nickname of Little Ball of Hate in last year’s first-round matchup with the Capitals, got things started with a rare shorthanded penalty shot.
Marchand turned a John Carlson giveaway into a shorthanded breakaway, but when Alex Ovechkin slashed him from behind he was awarded a penalty shot.
Marchand responded by slipping a shot between the pads of goaltender Braden Holtby for his team-high 12th goal of the season at the 6:29 mark.
Chara made it 2-0 with 2:53 remaining in the opening period when he collected his own rebound, which landed at the feet of David Krejci, and fired a shot into the half-empty net.
When Ovechkin went to the box for interfering with Chris Kelly just 68 seconds later the Bruins extended their lead to 3-0 on a power-play blast from Hamilton from the top of the slot.
Whatever Capitals coach Adam Oates said during the first intermission must have worked because the Caps climbed back into the game on second-period goals by Mike Ribeiro and Tomas Kundraek.
Ribeiro got things started 5:46 into the period when he parked himself on the left side of Tuukka Rask. Ovechkin batted down a shot by rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy and found Ribeiro for his eighth goal of the season. It was also Oleksy’s first NHL point in his first NHL game.
The Caps drew within 3-2 at the 11:32 mark, this time on Kundraek’s first career NHL goal. Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff back to Eric Fehr, who set up Kundratek’s shot from the top of the right circle that eluded Rask.
The score remained that way entering the third period, familiar territory for a pair of teams that played in seven straight one-goal games in their playoff series last year, four of them decided in overtime.
NOTES: The Capitals placed defenseman Roman Hamrlik on waivers on Tuesday. The 39-year-old veteran leads all Czech-born players with 1,383 career games in the NHL but had been a healthy scratch in 16 of the Capitals’ first 20 games. The move was necessitated when the Capitals recalled rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy from the AHL Hershey Bears. Oleksy made his NHL debut against the Bruins. … Washington was without leading goal scorer Troy Brouwer, who fell ill before the game and was replaced on a second line by Wojtek Wolski. … The Bruins entered the game with a 6-0-0 record against teams in the Southeast Division. … Nathan Horton’s assist on Dougie Hamilton’s first-period goal was the 200th assist of his career. It came in his 568th game. … Bruins coach Claude Julien entered the game three wins shy of matching Milt Schmidt on the Bruins’ all-time list of coaching victories. … The Bruins return to action Thursday night at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Capitals return to action Thursday night at home against the Florida Panthers.
Lightning 5, Devils 2: Nate Thompson scored twice, the first two-goal game of his career, and added an assist, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the sputtering New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.
The win enabled the Lightning (10-12-1) to snap a five-game losing streak, while the Devils, the defending Eastern Conference champions, lost for the sixth straight time and dropped to 10-8-5 overall. In a span of three weeks, the Devils have dropped from first place in the Eastern Conference to now holding a share of the eighth spot with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Martin St. Louis and Alexander Killorn each had a goal and an assist and Cory Conacher and Vincent Lacavalier had two assists each for the Lightning.
The victory was the eighth for Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback, who stopped 25 shots.
The Devils spoiled Lindback’s shutout bid with a goal with 6:16 remaining by Adam Henrique on a wraparound score past Lindback. Patrik Elias added a power-play goal with 4:45 remaining.
B.J. Crombeen scored an empty-net goal to close out the scoring for Tampa Bay with 1:20 left.
The Devils’ lackluster play of late continued in the first period. Although they outshot the Lightning 10-4 during the period, the Devils didn’t have any legitimate scoring chances.
The Lightning got on the board first, when Nate Thompson scored his fourth goal of the season. Rookie Ondrej Palat, playing in only his second career NHL game, found Thompson alone in front and Thompson knocked it past Johan Hedberg with just 2:56 remaining in the first period.
It marked the seventh straight game that New Jersey surrendered the game’s first goal.
Tampa Bay pushed the lead to 2-0 when Martin St. Louis benefitted from an odd man rush off a scoring attempt from the Devils’ Adam Henrique. St. Louis carried the puck out of his own zone, then fed Lecavalier, who gave it to Killorn, who then slid it across to the streaking St. Louis, who tallied his sixth goal of the season.
The second goal caused some Devils fans to chant “Kinkaid, Kinkaid,” in honor of Keith Kinkaid, the rookie goalie who was recalled from the minors when Martin Brodeur went on the injured list with a bad back.
After Hedberg gave up the third goal of the game and the 24th allowed over the last six games, DeBoer pulled the 39-year-old veteran in favor of the 23-year-old rookie, much to the joy of the crowd.
The third goal was scored by rookie Killorn, with assists going to Lecavalier and St. Louis at the 13:13 mark, sending Hedberg to the bench.
Kinkaid made his first NHL save on a slap shot by Pierre-Cedric Labrie with 1:37 remaining in the second period.
The highlight of the evening came when Kinkaid stopped Steven Stamkos on a breakaway, going spread eagle to stop Stamkos on the right side with a pad save with his left leg.
Thompson added his second goal of the game in the third period, the first two-goal game of his career. He also scored a goal against the Devils on Feb. 7, meaning that three of his five goals this season have been scored against New Jersey.
NOTES: The Devils place forward Bobby Butler on waivers Monday and was quickly claimed by Nashville. Butler had one goal and one assist in 14 games after signing during the offseason from Ottawa. The ascension of Andrei Loktionov as a contributing performer made Butler expendable. Lotkionov, acquired by the Devils in a Feb. 6 trade with the Los Angeles Kings, has scored three goals and added two assists in his last six games with New Jersey. … There was some talk that Devils coach Peter DeBoer might give rookie Kinkaid his first start in net, but DeBoer never wavered with the decision and stayed with Hedberg, even though it meant the 39-year-old veteran would have to play on consecutive nights. That all changed when DeBoer yanked Hedberg in the middle of the second period. … The 23-year-old Kinkaid became the youngest goalie to play for the Devils since former first round pick Jean-Francois Damphousse in 2002. … Starting goalie Martin Brodeur remains on the injured list with a bad back. Brodeur has missed the last five games and there’s no timetable for his return … Both teams entered Tuesday night’s game with a five-game losing streak. … The Lightning scratched left wing Benoit Pouliot, who left the game against Boston on March 2 with an upper body injury and has not returned to action. Pouliot has six goals and eight assists in 21 games for the Lightning. … Stamkos, the NHL Player of the Month for February and second in the NHL in scoring, had eight goals in his last nine games … Lightning forward Palat has only been active for two games, but has collected an assist in each game.