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Perreault's hat trick leads Capitals past Bruins

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WASHINGTON (AP)

Mathieu Perreault got his first career hat trick, including the tie-breaking goal in the third period, to lead the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

Perreault's third goal of the game came 7:18 into the third period when he put in a rebound off Roman Hamrlik's shot to give Washington the lead.

Cody Eakin also scored for the Capitals, who won for the second time in five games. Dennis Wideman added an empty-netter with 27 seconds left.

Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand scored for Boston in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break.

The Capitals were without captain Alex Ovechkin, who was serving the first game of a three-game suspension for a hit on Pittsburgh defenseman Zbynek Michalek in Washington's loss Sunday. Ovechkin also announced Tuesday he would skip the NHL All-Star game, saying, ''My heart is not there.''

Washington was already missing another key offensive player: center Nicklas Backstrom, who missed his 10th straight game after being elbowed in the head.

''You're not going to replace Alex, but as a committee we're going to have to get the goals,'' Washington coach Dale Hunter said before the game. ''We need people to step up.''

Offensive chances for both teams were relatively sparse in the first period, but the goals came fast and furious in the second.

Washington opened the period with a pair of goals 41 seconds apart to take a 2-1 lead. Eakin sneaked a shot past Boston goalie Tuukka Rask at the 2:14 mark, and Perreault followed with his first goal of the game on a nice pass from Alexander Semin.

Perreault brought the puck down the center of the ice, passed to Semin on the right side, and Semin sent it back to Perreault, who was between the circles. Perrault flipped the puck past Rusk after he had moved to cut off a possible Semin shot.

The teams then traded scores off turnovers. Seguin picked off a pass from Capitals defenseman John Carlson in Washington's zone and scored at 12:21 in the second.

Perreault put the Capitals ahead again about 2 minutes later, stealing a pass in the middle of the ice and converting on a breakaway for his second of the game.

Perreault was whistled for a hooking penalty with about three minutes to play in the second period, and Boston took advantage as Marchand banged in a rebound at the 17:42 mark to tie the game at 3.

Peverley got a lucky bounce to score the game's first goal with 2:14 to go in the opening period. Deep in the left corner, Peverley tried a centering pass to Milan Lucic in front of the net. Washington defenseman Karl Alzner, sprawled on the ice to block a possible shot, got his stick on the puck and redirected it into the Capitals' net.

NOTES: Boston RW Nathan Horton sat out his first game of the season with what Bruins coach Claude Julien termed a ''mild concussion.'' Julien said he hoped Horton would be able to return after the All-Star break. ... Boston G Tim Thomas, who skipped Monday's White House ceremony honoring the team's Stanley Cup win last season, did not play. ... Hunter said he didn't expect Ovechkin to be handed a three-game suspension. ''I was surprised it was as harsh as it was,'' the coach said before the game.

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