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Capitals

After blowing a three goal lead Wednesday night, Nicklas Backstrom bailed out his teammates in overtime, scoring at 1:36 to lift the Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Bruins. It marked the Caps’ second straight overtime win and seventh straight victory over Boston.

How it happened: After a pair of first period goals from Justin Williams and a second period snipe from Daniel Winnik, the Capitals owned a commanding 3-0 lead over the Bruins at home. 

Thanks for coming, right?

Wrong. 

The Bruins rallied on second period strikes by Dominic Moore and David Pastrnak. The Caps, meantime, suddenly went cold. How cold? Alex Ovechkin and Co. mustered a meager two shots in the middle stanza — a new season low. 

In the third period, the Caps’ struggles continued, and the Bruins pulled even on a goal by Colin Miller, who fired a one-timer on the power play past Braden Holtby (31 stops) to complete the comeback.

As it turned out, though, the Caps still managed to walk away with a pair of points thanks to a poorly timed line change by the Bruins in the extra session, a sweet pass from Marcus Johansson and an even sweeter shot from Backstrom, who went 5-hole on Tuukka Rask (16 saves).   

What it means: The Caps, who entered the game clinging to the second wild card spot, put a couple of points between themselves and the Devils and Lightning. After the morning skate, coach Barry Trotz said the playoff race is underway. For Washington, it is indeed.    

 

Oshie’s okay: T.J. Oshie returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a shoulder injury. He did not record a point in 15:11 of ice time, but he was a threat to score and the energy he brought to the bench and the ice was palpable. 

Nisky’s noggin:  Matt Niskanen was sent headfirst into the corner dasher by Patrice Bergeron late in the first period and did not return. At first the team said Niskanen had an upper body injury and was probable to come back. Then, at the start of the third period, he was ruled out for precautionary reasons. He will be reevaluated on Thursday. Bergeron, meanwhile, was assessed two minutes for boarding.  

C’mon Kuzy!: Kuznetsov finished with a pair of primary assists, marking his third multi-point game of the season. But he also committed a turnover the let the Bruins back into the game. Kuzy fumbled a puck at the offensive blue line, which Pastrnak poked ahead. Pastrnak then overpowered a backchecking Kuznetsov before pulling away and beating Holtby to cut the Bruins’ deficit to 3-2 with a minute remaining in the second.

How long?: Winnik’s goal came at 5:51 of the second period. The Caps’ next shot came at 12:18 of the third period, a span of 26:27 without one.

Looking ahead: The Capitals have a scheduled day off Thursday. They’ll return to the ice Friday night in Buffalo before hosting the Canucks on Sunday at 5 p.m.

MORE CAPS: Trotz, Ovechkin meet about penalty problem