WASHINGTON -- Nic Dowd scored at 4:41 of overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Capital One Arena on Saturday.
Dowd redirected T.J. Oshie's shot from above the circles to win it.
Craig Anderson made 21 saves for Washington in relief of Vitek Vanecek, who left the game with a lower-body injury sustained failing to save Jake DeBrusk's shot that tied it 1-1 with 6:50 left in the first period.
"I think the biggest thing is, is he just was so calm and poised in what he did, and he moved so well," Dowd said of Anderson. "I mean, it has to be really challenging for any player to come off the bench like that and be forced into that situation ... there's a lot of things that go into it.
"But I think our team has shown that we've done that all year, and we've been able to be successful, and I think guys have learned how to do it."
Video: BOS@WSH, Gm1: Wilson buries return feed from Oshie
Anderson played four regular-season games, starting two, including May 8 when he made 28 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers. He turns 40 on Friday.
"Just to get that game, I was able to stay a little fresh and kind of jump-start the engine there, just kind of reinforce that you do need to be ready and you're one shot, one play away from being the guy in the net," Anderson said.
Anderson is 12-5 in overtime in the NHL playoffs, including 4-1 against the Bruins.
"Tough spot, I think, to put somebody in, but Andy's answered the bell really his whole career, but he's answered it for us when we needed him," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "He truly epitomizes the concept of working hard every day so that when you get your opportunity, you're ready, and that's exactly what he did."
Tuukka Rask made 29 saves for Boston, which is the No. 3 seed in the MassMutual East Division.
"It was a one-timer from the blue line there," Rask said of Dowd's goal. "I think it was going over my head or at my head or something, then hit a stick, hit my chest and somehow ended up in the net. I think I probably bumped it into my own net."
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series will be played here Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS, NBCSWA, NESN).
"Our offensive game was just not where it needed to be tonight," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "I thought our power play (1-for-4) wasn't crisp. It bled into our 5-on-5. At the end of the day, not enough on the offensive side of things. We weren't hard enough to play against."
Video: BOS@WSH, Gm1: Dillon powers a point shot past Rask
Tom Wilson gave No. 2-seeded Washington a 1-0 lead at 6:22 of the first period when he scored on a give-and-go with Oshie. After Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy broke his stick attempting a shot from the point, Washington had a 3-on-2. Wilson fed Oshie, who passed the puck past McAvoy back to Wilson for a shot from the bottom of the left face-off circle.
DeBrusk beat Vanecek with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle at 13:10. The goalie remained down on the ice briefly and was tended to by a trainer before going to the dressing room.
"It was a face-off, and I think it actually, to be honest, it went off one of their guys and I just tried to shoot it as fast as I could," DeBrusk said. "I didn't know where I was shooting it."
Vanecek made three saves on four shots in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. Laviolette did not have an update on his condition after the game.
Brenden Dillon gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 8:44 of the second period when his shot from the left point went in off the stick of defenseman Jeremy Lauzon.
The Bruins tied it 2-2 at 16:38 when David Pastrnak's shot deflected off Nick Ritchie and trickled over the goal line on a power play.
Teams that win Game 1 are 490-222 (68.8 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including 7-1 in the first round last season.
NOTES: Anderson is the 15th-oldest goalie to play an NHL playoff game, and the oldest since Tim Thomas at 40 years, 10 days for the Dallas Stars in a 6-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the 2014 Western Conference First Round. ... Anderson is the oldest goalie to win a playoff game for the Capitals. Mike Liut had been the oldest at 34 years, 110 days (2-1 overtime win against New York Rangers in Game 5 of 1990 Patrick Division Final). … Washington defenseman Zdeno Chara became the seventh player in NHL history to play a postseason game at age 44 or older, and the first since forward Jaromir Jagr with the Florida Panthers at age 44 in the 2016 Eastern Conference First Round. … Forward Patrice Bergeron played his 150th playoff game for the Bruins, tying Chara for second in their history. Defenseman Ray Bourque is first at 180. … Oshie returned after leaving the win against the Flyers on May 8 with a lower-body injury and missing a 2-1 victory against the Bruins on Tuesday. … Capitals forwards Daniel Sprong and Anthony Mantha each had an assist in his NHL playoff debut.
Video: Dowd propels Capitals past Bruins in Game 1