Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals were fortunate they left Boston with only a loss.
Ovechkin returned from an awkward crash into the boards Tuesday night only to see the Capitals fall to the Bruins 3-2 in overtime, when David Krejci's shot banked off a defender's leg and into the goal.
"He's a pretty tough kid," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said of the reigning league MVP.
In the second period, Ovechkin hit the boards behind the Bruins goal with his head and right shoulder, then remained motionless on the ice for about 15 seconds before rolling over and rubbing his face with his glove. Although he left the ice a few minutes later, he was doubled over and flexing his right arm.
Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 31 goals, sat on the bench just a few minutes before walking off through the tunnel and slamming his gloves and helmet to the ground.
Team spokesman Paul Rovnak said Ovechkin had a "stinger" that felt better after about 15 minutes. Ovechkin missed the last 5:35 of the second period but came back for the third.
In other NHL games Tuesday night, it was: Columbus 3, Detroit 2 in overtime; the New York Rangers 3, Carolina 2; New Jersey 4, Ottawa 1; Florida 3, Philadelphia 2; Tampa Bay 5, Montreal 3; Minnesota 6, Toronto 1; Dallas 2, Atlanta 0; Anaheim 7, Phoenix 3; Buffalo 10, Edmonton 2; and San Jose 3, Colorado 0.
Ovechkin's return couldn't help Washington in a matchup of the two top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Boston, on the other hand, got immediate assistance from forward Patrice Bergeron, who missed most of last season with a concussion and then sustained another on Dec. 20 and missed 15 games. He helped set up the tying goal by Marc Savard with 5:48 left in the second.
"It was nice to see him back," Bruins coach Claude Julien said, "not only for us, but for his teammates."
Tim Thomas stopped 34 shots for Boston and improved to 12-2-1 over his last 15 games.
The Bruins got an advantage just 48 seconds into overtime. Controlling the puck in the Capitals zone, Krejci sat to goalie Jose Theodore's right and tried to cross it. Shaone Morrisonn blocked the puck with his leg, but it caromed into the goal.
"It seems like that happens once a game," Boudreau said. "It seems like one goal goes off a skate."
At Denver, Evgeni Nabokov stopped 31 shots for his 43rd career shutout and Milan Michalek scored two goals for San Jose, which won for the sixth time in seven games.
At Edmonton, Alberta, Drew Stafford scored his first of three goals 10 seconds into the game, and Buffalo handed the Oilers their worst home loss in franchise history.
Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy had a goal and two assists apiece for the Sabres, who also got goals from Nathan Paetsch, Jochen Hecht, Jaroslav Spacek and Tim Connolly with a pair.
At New York, Scott Gomez and Lauri Korpikoski scored first-period goals, and Steve Valiquette made 33 saves for the Rangers.
Brandon Dubinsky pushed the Rangers' lead to 3-1 with 7:50 left, but Tuomo Ruutu and Ryan Bayda scored for Carolina. Cam Ward stopped 28 shots in his 14th straight start.
At Ottawa, Jamie Langenbrunner scored twice and Brendan Shanahan added his second goal in three games as New Jersey extended its winning streak to six.
Patrik Elias scored his 21st goal in the first and Scott Clemmensen made 21 saves for the Devils.
At Tampa, Fla., Vincent Lecavalier, Vinny Prospal and Steve Downie scored second-period goals to lead the Lightning.
Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis also scored in Tampa Bay's sixth win in eight games.
Maxim Lapierre, Alex Kovalev and Guillaume Latendresse scored for Montreal.
At Sunrise, Fla., Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists and Tomas Vokoun stopped 33 shots for the Panthers.
Simon Gagne and Claude Giroux scored for Philadelphia and Martin Biron made 24 saves.
At Columbus, Ohio, Rick Nash completed a hat trick 3:27 into overtime to lift the Blue Jackets.
The Red Wings were without stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk, who did not attend the All-Star game because of injuries and were forced by the NHL to sit out their first game back after the break for not fulfilling their obligations in Montreal.
At St. Paul, Minn., Pierre-Marc Bouchard had two goals and an assist for the Wild.
Called up from the AHL for one start following the All-Star break, Justin Pogge made only 15 saves for the Maple Leafs.
At Dallas, Marty Turco made 25 saves for his 35th career shutout, and Jere Lehtinen and Steve Ott scored for the Stars.
The Thrashers, shut out for the fourth time this season, wasted Kari Lehtonen's 31-save performance.
At Glendale, Ariz., Chris Kunitz and Corey Perry each scored twice to lead Anaheim.
Bobby Ryan scored a goal in his fourth straight game, and Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen also scored for the Ducks.