Alex Ovechkin, left, joins the celebration after the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins in overtime, 3-2, in the opener of their East Division playoff series Saturday night in Washington. Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Nic Dowd deflected in T.J. Oshie’s shot from the blue line 4:41 into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.

The Capitals weathered the loss of starting goaltender Vitek Vanecek to a lower-body injury early on, with backup Craig Anderson making 21 saves without allowing an even-strength goal.

Tom Wilson and Brendon Dillon also scored for the Capitals. Daniel Sprong and Anthony Mantha, making their playoff debuts, each had an assist.

Jake DeBrusk and Nick Ritchie scored for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 29 saves.

Wilson opened the scoring 6:22 into the game. Boston’s Charlie McAvoy broke his stick on a shot attempt, leading to a 3-on-2 Washington rush with Oshie at the center of it. After a few quick passes, Wilson roofed a shot over Rask’s shoulder.

The Bruins answered with 6:50 left in the period when Curtis Lazar won an offensive-zone faceoff and chopped the puck behind him to DeBrusk for a wrister that evaded Vanecek’s lunge to the right.

Vanecek hurt himself on the play and Anderson, who turns 40 on Friday, replaced him. He had not played a postseason game since 2017.

The 25% capacity crowd at Capital One Arena thought Alex Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead in the second period with a deflection goal off Dillon’s point shot. Instead, the goal was credited to Dillon after replay showed the puck bounced through traffic and off a Boston stick, but not off Ovechkin’s.

With Dmitry Orlov in the box for high-sticking, the Bruins converted on their third power-play chance of the night with 3:22 left in the second. David Pastrnak’s shot redirected off Ritchie’s skate and through Anderson’s legs, barely making it over the line before a defender came in to clear it.

OSHIE STEPS UP AS CENTER

Normally a right wing, Oshie played out of position as Washington’s third-line center with Evgeny Kuznetsov unavailable because of COVID-19 protocols. Oshie cashed in with two assists.

Oshie was a game-time decision because of a lower-body injury he sustained May 8 that caused him to miss the Capitals’ regular-season finale. He left the bench briefly during the first period before returning to the game.

NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES

Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara faced the Bruins in a playoff game for the first time after he spent 14 years as Boston’s captain. Chara finished with one shot and three hits.

Also, former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall made his Bruins playoff debut a month after joining them as a trade-deadline acquisition from Buffalo. The second-line left wing had two shots in 17:49 of ice time.


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