Nic Dowd scores OT winner to lift the Washington Capitals past Bruins

May 11, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) skates with the puck as Boston Bruins right wing Chris Wagner (14) defends in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nic Dowd scored the winning goal to give the host Washington Capitals a 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins in Saturday’s Stanley Cup playoffs opener.

Tom Wilson and Brenden Dillon also scored for the Capitals, while goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced after being forced into action midway through the first period due to an injury suffered by starting netminder Vitek Vanecek.

Jake DeBrusk and Nick Ritchie replied for Boston, and goaltender Tuukka Rask made 29 saves in the loss.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven East Division series will be Monday in Washington.

Dowd was battling in front of the Boston net when T.J. Oshie unloaded a long slap shot and Dowd deflected the puck into the net at the 4:41 mark of the extra period for his first career playoff overtime goal. Oshie collected a pair of assists.

Anderson, who will celebrate his 40th birthday on Friday, saw his first playoff action since May 25, 2017, while with the Ottawa Senators. The veteran played in only four NHL games this season, in which he posted a 2-1-0 record with a 2.13 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

Washington’s No. 1 goalie Ilya Samsonov was removed from the league’s COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday but didn’t play. When Anderson took the net, fourth-string goalie Pheonix Copley dressed as backup.

Wilson, who had a two-point game, opened the scoring by taking advantage of a bad break for Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, whose stick broke when he attempted a point shot. Wilson executed a give-and-go with Oshie on the resulting odd-man rush before he buried a shot from the left circle at the 6:22 mark.

However, DeBrusk evened the score seven minutes later. After Curtis Lazar won the offensive-zone faceoff, pulling the puck back, DeBrusk quickly fired a long shot that eluded Vanecek as he did the splits and appeared to suffer a pulled groin muscle that forced him from the game.

Dillon restored the Washington lead at 8:44 of the second period when his point shot deflected off the stick of Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon for his first career playoff goal, but Ritchie’s power-play goal — another deflection while creating havoc in front of the net — with 3:22 remaining in the second period again drew the visitors even.

–Field Level Media