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game recap

Bruins fail to clinch third in Atlantic Divison

Lose to Capitals with chance to solidify playoff positioning

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins failed to clinch third place in the Atlantic Division when they lost their regular-season finale 3-1 to the Washington Capitals at TD Garden on Saturday.

The Bruins finished with 95 points and are tied for third with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 and have one game remaining. The Bruins hold the first tiebreaker against the Maple Leafs with 42 regulation/overtime wins; Toronto has 39.

Boston, which is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2014, will play either Washington or the Ottawa Senators, who clinched second place in the Atlantic Division, in the Eastern Conference First Round. The playoffs begin Wednesday; the schedule will be announced Sunday.

 

WATCH: All Capitals vs. Bruins highlights

 

"I didn't feel we were invested enough in most areas of the game to beat the first-place team in the National Hockey League," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Probably that simple to me. They're a good hockey club, they don't have a lot of weaknesses and you've got to be on your 'A' game and we didn't have our 'A' game."

Marcus Johansson, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Justin Williams scored, and Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves for Washngton, which had clinched the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Capitals (55-18-8), who played their last road game of the regular season, have won four in a row and 10 of their past 11 (10-1-0).

Video: WSH@BOS: Williams capitalizes on crisp passing

"These games can be tough, and we still have one more to go, we're focused on that," Shattenkirk said. "But we knew that they had something at stake tonight too and we just came out and made sure we continued what we were doing. That's the most important thing. I thought we played a pretty complete game all around."

Colin Miller scored for Boston (44-31-7), and Anton Khudobin made 21 saves on 24 shots before leaving because of illness before the third period. Tuukka Rask made eight saves in relief for the Bruins, who lost their final two games of the regular season (0-1-1).

Video: WSH@BOS: Miller finds loose puck, lights the lamp

The Bruins played without forward Brad Marchand, who served the second of a two-game suspension for a spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin on Tuesday, and defenseman Torey Krug (lower body), and lost defenseman Brandon Carlo to an upper-body injury in the first period. Carlo crashed into the boards after a hit by Washington forward Alex Ovechkin at 13:07.

Johansson scored at 4:21 of the first period to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. Miller tied it at 1-1 at 15:13 of the second period. Shattenkirk put the Capitals ahead 2-1 56 seconds later.

The Capitals had a goal overturned after video review because of goaltender interference at 17:31 of the second but Williams extended the lead to 3-1 with 50 seconds remaining.

 

Goal of the game

After Johansson made an end-to-end rush, he worked a give-and-go with Williams just inside the Boston zone before scoring.

Video: WSH@BOS: Johansson scores on pretty give-and-go

 

Save of the game

Grubauer was able to keep Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara's one-timer at 14:59 of the second period out of the net.

 

Highlight of the game

Shattenkirk scored on a one-timer from the right hash mark after some tic-tac-toe passing. Nicklas Backstrom made a drop pass to Ovechkin, who hit Backstrom cutting across the slot. Backstrom passed the puck across the ice from the bottom of the left circle to Shattenkirk.

Video: WSH@BOS: Shattenkirk buries Backstrom's pinpoint feed

 

Unsung performance of the game

Johansson beat Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller to the puck below the goal line in the Boston end after Bruins center Patrice Bergeron won a faceoff against Evgeny Kuznetsov. Johnasson moved the puck to Williams, who passed it up to Shattenkirk to start the scoring play which led to the third goal for the Capitals.

 

They said it

"I don't like to go down that road. We're going to be confident no matter who we play. In a nutshell, Washington is the better team; I would say that, go on record saying that. Ottawa's playing very good hockey right now, we've had a tough time with them. So they both present their challenges." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on who he would rather face in the playoffs

 

"The guys did an amazing job again today. I don't think we gave up too many scoring chances, a couple in the first, but other than that ... the points don't matter as much as it does for turning our game towards the playoffs and I think we did an amazing job." -- Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer

 

Need to know

If Toronto earns at least one point against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, Boston will play Washington. If not, Boston will play Ottawa. ... Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik played his 900th NHL game. ... Johansson played his 500th NHL game. ... Forward Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson was the 10th Bruins player to make his NHL debut this season, the most for Boston since 2005-06. ... Bruins forward Drew Stafford got his 400th NHL point with an assist on Miller's goal.

 

What's next

Capitals: Host the Florida Panthers on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Bruins: Game 1 of Eastern Conference First Round, TBD

 

Video: Williams, Grubauer lead Capitals past Bruins, 3-1

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