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Ovechkin-less Capitals best Bruins 5-3

Mathieu Perreault, Marcus Johansson

Washington Capitals’ Mathieu Perreault, center, shakes hands with Marcus Johansson, of Sweden, after completing a hat trick against the Boston Bruins during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, in Washington. The Capitals won 5-3. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)


The 2012 All-Star Game will miss Alex Ovechkin’s presence, but so far, the Washington Capitals are managing without him.

They managed to beat the mighty Boston Bruins 5-3 in the first contest of their captain’s three-game suspension. Mathieu Perrault nearly doubled his season total of goals to seven by scoring three tonight, including the game-winner:

It’s pretty impressive that the Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green-less Capitals managed to beat the defending champions, even with Tuukka Rask in place of Tim Thomas.

This is a nice way for the Capitals to head into the All-Star break, especially after the Florida Panthers fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout. Both teams are tied with 55 points but Washington has 26 wins to Florida’s 22. (The Panthers are subsisting on “charity points,” by the way. They’ve lost 11 games in shootouts or overtime and have six shootout victories.)

The Capitals will play two more games without Ovi after the break, including a significant contest against the Panthers in Florida on Feb. 1. If they can keep their heads above water while their captain stews because of that suspension, then this team could very well take control of the lowly Southeast Division.