BOSTON -- Jakub Vrana faked left, pulled the puck back toward his skates and then dragged it along the ice as he prepared to shoot.
Goalie Jaroslav Halak kept sliding the wrong way.
After T.J. Oshie scored with 59 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, Vrana faked Halak out in the fifth round of the shootout for Washington’s first lead of the night and the Capitals rallied to beat Boston 3-2 on Saturday in a matchup of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
“Nasty,” said Travis Boyd, whose first-period goal was the only one Washington managed in the game’s first 59 minutes. “Ultimately, you’ve got to believe if you continue to do the right things you’re going to continue to get those chances, and eventually one’s going to go in. And sometimes it takes all the way to the last minute of the game.”
Boston led 2-1 when the Capitals pulled goalie Braden Holtby for an extra skater with about 85 seconds left in the third period. They quickly established possession in the Bruins zone, then tied it when Oshie converted on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s pass from behind the net.
Charlie Coyle scored to open the shootout for Boston, but Holtby stopped the next four tries. Nicklas Backstrom tied it on Washington’s third try and then, after Halak’s glove save on Alex Ovechkin went to a replay review, Vrana scored the winner.
“He had some big saves in the game. In a situation like this, I felt like you’ve got to do something different to put the puck through him,” Vrana said. “I had a chance to see how he reacted a couple shooter before me. I took advantage.”
Holtby stopped 21 shots for Washington, which outshot the Bruins 44-23 in regulation.
David Pastrnak scored to break a second-period tie, and Coyle also had a goal in regulation. Halak made 42 saves for Boston, which has beaten the Capitals just once in 15 tries (0-11-4).
“He was our best player by far,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He made a number of outstanding saves, and again in the shootout.”
The Bruins are winless in five games that went to overtime or shootouts.
“We haven’t been able to pull the win out of shootouts,” Pastrnak said. “Usually shootouts are 50-50. These days it’s probably 20-80.”
Coyle gave Boston the lead midway through the first when he skated through the slot and one-timed a pass from Danton Heinen. Washington tied it before the period was over on a double deflection of John Carlson’s shot from the blue line that went first off Boyd’s stick and then hit Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen’s before bouncing into the net.
But Pastrnak put Boston ahead with his 17th goal of the season, bouncing it off Holtby into the net with 3:30 gone in the second period.
NOTES: The Bruins played without F Patrice Bergeron, who was scratched with an undisclosed injury. ... D Torey Krug was placed on injured reserve Saturday. He was hurt in the Nov. 10 game against Philadelphia. ... Washington F Tom Wilson went to the locker room briefly in the second period after colliding with teammate Ovechkin. ... Both teams were coming off games Friday night, when the Bruins beat Toronto to snap a four-game losing streak and the Capitals lost to Montreal, snapping a 13-game point streak in which they were 11-0-2. ... The Bruins haven’t lost at home in regulation. They are 7-0-4.
Capitals: Host Anaheim on Monday.
Bruins: At New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
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