BOSTON — The Washington Capitals, the runaway leaders in the NHL points standings, got a goal from defenseman Matt Niskanen in overtime and pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Niskanen slapped his fifth goal of the season past Tuukka Rask at 2:24 of the overtime as the Capitals (48-13-4) reached the 100-point mark for the season.
Backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves, 20 of them in the second period, as the Capitals, who killed a 1:49 two-man disadvantage in that second period, completed their second straight 3-0 season sweep of the Bruins.
Defenseman Karl Alazner scored the other Washington goal, tying the game in the second period after Patrice Bergeron (seven shots on goal) scored his 26th goal of the season in the first period.
Rask made 28 saves for the Bruins, who fell to 15-16-4 at home and 36-23-7 overall.
Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury when he was boarded by Alexander Ovechkin in the second period. Ovechkin was hit with a major penalty but not ejected and, soon after, the Bruins wound up with a two-man advantage for 1:49 but couldn’t score.
Ovechkin assisted on the first Caps goal and has 38 points in 39 career games against the Bruins.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead when Bergeron converted a nifty pass from Brad Marchand at 7:11 of the first period. Rask kept it that way through the rest of the period and thought they had taken a 2-0 lead 3:17 into the second.
Torey Krug pounced on a rebound of a David Pastrnak shot and beat Grubauer with what would have been the defenseman’s first goal in his last 40 games. The Capitals challenged, saying Loui Eriksson was offside and, on a close call, the challenge was won and the goal was taken away.
Rask came up with a huge glove save on Evgeny Kuznetsov after a Dennis Seidenberg giveaway and Ovechkin then boarded Miller, the Bruins winding up with a three-minute advantage when Marchand also took a penalty. There was 1:49 left on the power play when Tom Wilson, who lost an earlier fight to Adam McQuaid, went off for interference.
The Bruins buzzed, they shot, they missed, but most of all they were stopped by Grubauer as the Caps killed the two-man disadvantage, Bergeron hitting a post during the attack.
Niklas Backstrom’s backhand pass was tipped home by Alzner at 13:08 of the period to tie the game, Alzner’s first goal in 22 games and Backstrom’s 30th point in 28 games against Boston.