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Capitals beat the Bruins 2-0 to move one win away from making the playoffs


WASHINGTON - John Carlson scored another big goal, Charlie Lindgren stopped all 16 shots he faced and the Washington Capitals moved another step closer to the playoffs by beating the Boston Bruins 2-0 on Monday night. 

Nic Dowd sealed it with an empty-netter with 11.7 seconds left, and now a win at Philadelphia on Tuesday night would put Washington back in the playoffs, regardless of other results around the NHL. The Capitals, if they make it, would be the second wild card in the Eastern Conference after the New York Islanders clinched third place in the Metropolitan Division. 

Boston also still has something to play for in its regular-season finale Tuesday night at home against Ottawa: the Atlantic Division title, with Florida just one point back in the standings. The Bruins could have wrapped it up by beating the Caps, but couldn't match the urgency of an opponent fighting to for its playoff life. 

No one exemplified that more for Washington than Dylan Strome, who won a faceoff, controlled the puck and set up Carlson's goal on a blast from the point 12 minutes in. Strome is desperate for his first NHL playoff experience with fans in the stands, outside a pandemic bubble. 

So is Lindgren, who put together another stellar performance when his team needed it most - much like a lot of games down the stretch. Lindgren denied Bruins 47-goal scorer David Pastrnak on multiple occasions and turned aside other quality chances to maintain the lead, among them third-period stops on Andrew Peeke, Charlie McAvoy and Patrick Maroon in the final eight minutes. 

Jeremy Swayman was great in goal for Boston, making 23 saves, including a sliding stop on All-Star Tom Wilson in the second period and one on Alex Ovechkin during a penalty kill in the third. 

The Capitals were playing without two injured defensemen, forced to roll with rookie Vincent Iorio and minor league callup Dylan McIlrath. Carlson skated a game-high 29:34 to get them through game 81. They lost depth winger Beck Malenstyn to an upper-body injury late in the second period on a hit by big Bruins forward Beck Malenstyn. 


Bruins: If the regular goalie rotation continues, Linus Ullmark will be in net against the Senators on Tuesday.
Capitals: Lindgren is expected to start again at the Flyers on Tuesday with everything at stake.

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