Jose Theodore made 28 saves, Alex Ovechkin had two assists, and Brooks Laich banged home the game winner in overtime as the Washington Capitals defeated the desperate Boston Bruins 3-2, in what could have been a preview of the first round of the playoffs.
The Capitals entered the game as the newly crowned winner of the President's Trophy, presented to the team that totals the most regular season points. It assures the Caps home-ice advantage for the entirety of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Bruins, on the other hand, came in fighting for the final spot in the playoffs, the eighth seed.
Boston gained a point, by virtue of taking the game to overtime, and moved into seventh place with 85 points. Montreal is sixth with 86 points and Philadelphia is in eighth place with 84 points. Any of the three could still end up in the eighth seed and face the daunting task of trying to unseat the Capitals.
The game was suited to Boston's strength much of the game. It was a slow, plodding game for much of the affair, with scoring chances coming from rebounds and bouncing pucks instead of laser shots and dipsy-dos.
The game-winner from Laich, still wearing the full cage as a result of the facial injury sustained a couple weeks ago, was an "ugly" goal. On a 4-on-3 power play in the extra frame, courtesy of a Dennis Wideman high-stick on Tomas Fleischmann, Alexander Semin wound up big from the left wind circle on Boston goalie Tuukka Rask (27 saves).
Semin misfired and the puck came up into Laich's midsection. Laich knocked the puck to his feet and slapped it past the out of position Rask to end the affair.
It was a fitting ending, and the outcome was made possible by the stellar goaltending by Theodore. He controlled his rebounds all night, and was sharp on pucks coming through traffic. He made two consecutive highlight reel pad saves on Michale Ryder in the slot, the second of which was an old school double stack laying on the ice.
Coach Bruce Boudreau praised his goalie after the game. "It's hard to say which was his best. He's made some great saves to keep us in. He's had his couple of a bad games [and] now he's back in the groove I hope. He was real good."
Boudreau rested his star defenseman in this one. Mike Green was given a night off in preparation for the playoffs. Despite missing their top D-man, the Caps killed all thre penalties assessed on the night.
There's no rest for the weary though, as the Capitals travel to Pittsburgh tonight for a matchup with the Penguins. The Caps are trying to sweep the Pens, having won all three previous meetings this season.