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Bruins beat the Capitals 3-2 in a shootout in a potential first-round playoff preview


WASHINGTON (AP) - Hampus Lindholm scored a goal at one end, prevented one at the other and the Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night in a potential first-round playoff preview. 

Kevin Shattenkirk scored the shootout winner, rookie John Beecher had a goal and Jeremy Swayman made 18 saves in regulation and overtime for the Bruins, who were playing for the first time since clinching their eighth consecutive postseason appearance. 

With the victory after surviving a four-minute penalty kill in overtime, they leapfrogged the Florida Panthers to move back into first place in the Atlantic Division and kept pace with the New York Rangers for the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. 

The Capitals hope to join Boston there, but that'll depend on how they play their final eight games and what happens with Detroit and Philadelphia, the other teams vying for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference. 

By picking up a point, they moved ahead of the Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division because they've played fewer games and went two up on the Red Wings, who lost in a shootout at Florida earlier Saturday. 

Washington defenseman John Carlson scored in his 1,000th regular-season NHL game, and Michael Sgarbossa had a goal, validating coach Spencer Carbery's decision to keep him in the lineup when Sonny Milano returned from an injury absence. 

Charlie Lindgren stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in a defeat that came without defenseman Rasmus Sandin, a late scratch because of a lower-body injury. 

But Lindgren was hardly to blame for the Caps' second consecutive loss, as the opportunistic Bruins took advantage of turnovers and other mistakes and cashed in with goals. 

They bounced back from a deflating 3-1 loss at Tampa Bay, blocking 29 shots against the Capitals to reach 101 points on the season. 

That's far off their pace from last year, when they broke the league record for wins and points and lost to eventual Stanley Cup finalist Florida in the first round. Boston is not the favorite to win it all, but the team's best game, as it showed Saturday, is enough to be competitive with any of the top contenders. 

Bruins: Play their fifth of six road games in a row Tuesday night at the Nashville Predators. 

Capitals: Visit the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

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