Bruins beat Caps in shootout

In a last-day-of-the-season game that had no effect on the

standings, Alex Ovechkin and his teammates tried their best to win

the two-time reigning MVP some more individual hardware.

The result was a big zero, as in neither a goal nor an assist

for Ovechkin in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins. The game

ended his chase for the overall scoring title – Vancouver’s Henrik

Sedin gets the honor – although Ovechkin still had a chance to

share the goal-scoring crown pending the outcome of Sunday’s other

games.

“Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose, so congrats to Sedin,”

Ovechkin said. “He deserved it. He played great. We all tried, but

some get it, some don’t.”

Ovechkin ends the season with 50 goals, quite a feat considering

he missed 10 games due to injuries and suspensions. He began the

day tied with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and one goal ahead of

Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, both of whom played later. Ovechkin was

trying to become the first player to win the Maurice Richard Trophy

three years in a row since Brett Hull (1990-92).

Ovechkin also piled up 109 points to finish three behind Sedin

for the Art Ross Trophy.

Of course, Ovechkin could have other trophies in store. He’s

certainly a front-runner to win the Hart Trophy for MVP again, and

the Capitals are top contenders to capture their first Stanley

Cup.

“It doesn’t take away from the year he had,” coach Bruce

Boudreau said. “He didn’t get any points today. Sometimes you just

can’t dig it up to do it. Boston looked to me like their whole

concern was not to let Alex score. So we’ll get back to normal. I’m

glad the whole race thing is over.”

The Capitals then retreated to a team dinner, where they would

keep an eye on the scoreboard to see which team – Montreal or the

New York Rangers – they will face in the first round of the

playoffs. The Bruins had a similar bit of suspense, waiting to

learn whether Buffalo or New Jersey would be first up on their

playoff docket.

David Krejci and Miroslav Satan scored in the shootout for the

Bruins, who ended the regular season on a three-game winning

streak. Ovechkin and the Capitals’ other top scorers didn’t take

part in the shootout as Boudreau gave Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley

rare – but unsuccessful – chances against Boston backup goalie Tim

Thomas.

Two Washington players did achieve major personal benchmarks.

Alexander Semin reached the 40-goal mark for the first time and

also notched his 300th career point.

Also, defenseman Jeff Schultz became the first Capitals player

to lead the league in plus-minus rating. He was plus-2 for the

game, putting him at plus-50 for season.

Eric Belanger and Mike Knuble also scored for the Capitals, who

had a five-game winning streak snapped.

Michael Ryder scored twice in the first period, and Marco Sturm

tied the game with 4:18 remaining in regulation for the Bruins.

“It’s nice getting a little momentum going into the playoffs,”

Boston left wing Shawn Thornton said, “and it was nice seeing

everybody come to work when we had our best players out.”

With both teams’ seeds in the Eastern Conference playoffs

already secured – Washington at No. 1, Boston at No. 6 – the game

provided an extra day of rest for many regulars. Among the

scratches for Boston were Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference, Mark

Recchi, Zdeno Chara, Mark Stuart and Vladimir Sobotka. Thomas made

34 saves in place of Tuukka Rask. Center Zach Hamill got an assist

in his first NHL game.

Tomas Fleischmann, Eric Fehr, Quintin Laing, Tyler Sloan and

John Erskine had the day off for Washington. Boudreau has yet to

announce his No. 1 goaltender for the playoffs, so Semyon Varlamov

got the start and made 35 saves in his bid to win the job over Jose

Theodore.

The Capitals sold out every home game this season for the first

time in franchise history and finished with a club record 121

points in the standings, the first team outside of the NHL’s

Original Six to reach the 120 mark.

“We’re glad it’s over,” Boudreau said. “We knew for a long

time we were going to be in the playoffs, so as much as you want to

push them, they’re looking forward to a different kind of

challenge.”

NOTES: Thomas unloaded a series of haymakers on Capitals LW

Jason Chimera after Chimera was bumped into the Bruins goaltender

in the first period. “Looking at the replay, I overreacted,”

Thomas said. “It wasn’t as bad as I felt like it was at the time.

But I hadn’t played in a while and I needed to do something to get

myself in the game.” Chimera’s response: “Overreacted? The guy

punches me with the blocker five times in the face and doesn’t take

his mask off. It’s called stupidity, not overreacting.” Thomas was

given 4 minutes for roughing, while Chimera got 2 minutes for

goaltender interference. Chimera later received a 10-minute

misconduct after jawing at other players while making a move toward

Thomas. Chimera then committed a cross-checking penalty in the

second period, but later drew a penalty on Boston’s Dennis Wideman.

… The Bruins avoided a sweep in the season series, having lost

the first three.