WASHINGTON — Earlier in the week, Jarome Iginla passed Boston Bruins legend Johnny Bucyk. On Saturday he tied Montreal Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur.
Life is good the 36-year-old right winger and the Boston Bruins these days.
Iginla scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season and backup goaltender Chad Johnson turned aside 31-of-33 shots on Saturday, leading the Bruins to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
The win stretched the Bruins’ points streak to 15 games (14-0-1), clinched the Atlantic Division title and vaulted them past the St. Louis Blues in the race for the NHL’s Presidents’ Trophy with 108 points.
The Capitals’ loss was their first in regulation since March 11, snapping a 4-0-2 streak. It also prevented them from gaining ground in the chase for the two remaining wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.
“We knew how desperate (Washington) was,” Iginla said. “We know where they are in the standings and how hungry they would be. We tried to match that desperation and intensity early.
“I thought we did a good job with that.”
Centers Carl Soderberg and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins. Left wingers Jason Chimera and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for Washington.
Iginla is tied for 24th on the NHL’s all-time goals list with 560, one behind former Dallas Stars forward Mike Modano.
The Capitals began the day in a tie with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs with 80 points each.
“We knew they are a physical team, but we have to take a hit to make a play,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who recorded a team-high five shots but failed to score an even-strength goal for the 14th straight game, the longest stretch of his NHL career.
“You could see we were not a desperate team in the first two periods. We can’t play like that. The third period is an example. When we get a hit to make a play we’re a totally different team out there.”
After a scoreless first period in which each team failed to convert on their power plays, the Bruins scored on three of their first seven shots of the second period to build a 3-0 lead.
Iginla got it started when he scored on a mini-breakaway 2:48 into the second, snapping a pass from Soderberg past Braden Holtby for his 29th goal of the season.
Bruins right wing Milan Lucic drew a hooking penalty on Capitals center Eric Fehr and that led to Soderberg’s 15th goal of the season and fourth on the power play at the 7:35 mark.
Soderberg gained position in the crease and defected Patrice Bergeron’s shot between Holtby’s pads.
Iginla made it 3-0 only 41 seconds later when he crashed the net and scored on the rebound of a shot by Lucic, reaching 30 goals for the 12th time in his career.
“They always play like that,” Holtby said of the net-crashing Bruins. “They get a lot of their goals like that. Their first was a deflection from in tight, their second was a rebound in tight and their third the same thing.
“It’s where they get their goals and that’s where we need to be strong, where I need to be stronger.”
The Capitals closed to within 3-1 with 10 seconds remaining in the second period on Jason Chimera’s 14th goal of the season, but after killing of a furious attack by the Caps on a third-period power play, the Bruins sealed it on Bergeron’s 26th goal of the season with 6:43 left in the game.
“They came out in the third with some desperation and some opportunities,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “but I think our guys played well. For the most part, we kept them to the outside.”
NOTES: It was G Chad Johnson’s first career start against the Capitals. G Braden Holtby fell to 4-2-0 in his career against the Bruins. With both teams playing back-to-back games this weekend, look for Bruins G Tuukka Rask to return against the Flyers in Philadelphia on Sunday and Capitals G Jaroslav Halak to get the call in Nashville on Sunday against the Predators. … Rask’s next win will be his 100th in the NHL. … Before the game, Capitals coach Adam Oates said the Bruins are a team he would like model his team after. “They’re going on all cylinders,” Oates said. “We respect them. We know they’re a good hockey team and if you’re not ready to play them they can embarrass you.” … Capitals rookie RW Tom Wilson celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday. He played a career-high 12:47 and registered a career-high nine hits in Tuesday night’s shootout loss to the Kings. … Saturday’s game featured the NHL’s top plus-minus player (Boston C Patrice Bergeron, plus-28) against its second-worst (Capitals RW Alex Ovechkin, minus-31). … Capitals D Jack Hillen sat out Saturday’s game because of an upper body injury sustained when he collided with Ovechkin on Tuesday night. D John Erskine took Hillen’s spot in the lineup. C Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle) also sat out Saturday’s game but could return to the lineup Sunday in Nashville. … The Bruins continue their four-game trip with games in Philadelphia on Sunday and Toronto on Tuesday. After visiting Nashville on Sunday, the Capitals face the Dallas Stars at home on Tuesday.