LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals, trailing by two goals in the third period, stormed back to gain a 3-3 tie with the Boston Bruins yesterday before a sellout crowd of 18,130 at the Capital Centre.
Boston broke a 1-1 tie with two goals in a 56-second span early in the third period. Ray Bourque scored on a rebound of a Cam Neely shot into an open cage at 3 minutes, 22 seconds as Capitals goalie Don Beaupre got caught out of the net. Ron Hoover gave the Bruins, who have not lost at the Capital Centre since Nov. 25, 1987, a 3-1 lead with a shot from the left circle that went over Beaupre's shoulder, high into the cage.
The Capitals then came roaring back.
"It was a great comeback," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "We were down 3-1, and Boston has the players that can bury you. It was a great tie."
Washington, which moved into sole possession of third place in the Patrick Division past the idle New Jersey Devils, gained the tie with an offensive onslaught.
Michal Pivonka, scoring his second goal of the game, deflected a shot by Ken Sabourin past Bruins goalie Andy Moog at 7:37 to cut the lead to 3-2. Kelly Miller tied the game on a shot from the right circle that went through Moog's pads at 9:46. Miller has scored seven goals in his past nine games.
"I was in the right place at the right time," said Miller. "The puck came to me and I put it right between his [Moog's] legs. That was a very big point for us. Every game is important now, and we can't afford to let up."
Moog said he was screened on Miller's goal. "I never had a chance at it because I never saw it," he said. "The pass came out of the corner and I could see the puck, then I lost it. On Washington's second goal, I got tripped and couldn't recover. I asked the referee [Don Koharski] about it, and he said that my own player knocked the guy into me."
The Capitals and Bruins ended the season 1-1-1. Washington, which is 8-2-3 in its past 13 home games, is 4-3-7 in overtime this season. Boston is 5-0-12.
"We didn't play well," said Bruins coach Mike Milbury. "Beaupre was the difference. He made some very big saves, especially near the end, or we win the game. Sure, I'm happy with the tie. We have nothing to gain but integrity now."
"We got behind 3-1 and we showed a lot of character, a lot of emotion the way we came back," said Sabourin. "We kept to our game plan and didn't panic. It worked out because we scored two goals and got a very big point in the standings."
Rod Langway said: "It's a very big point, but with a bit of luck we could have won. Boston's goals came on good bounces. With a couple of bounces we could have had more than 3 goals. We put the puck in their zone well and forced them into errors."
Pivonka gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 14:40 of the first period when he redirected a shot from the right point by Sabourin past Moog.
Boston tied the score at 1 on Neely's power-play gaol at 17:38 of the second period. Langway gave up the puck in the right circle and Neely walked in on Beaupre all alone and beat him from close range for his 48th goal of the season.
NOTES: Washington was minus D Mikhail Tatarinov (flu), D Neil Sheehy (back) and RW Dino Ciccarelli (groin-muscle pull). . . . Boston played without LW Bob Carpenter (knee), C Vladimir Ruzicka (ankle), and D Garry Galley (knee). . . . Already a defenseman short, the Capitals lost Al Iafrate midway through the first period to a game-misconduct penalty. It was his third game-misconduct, and Iafrate will have to serve a game suspension, probably tomorrow against the Buffalo Sabres.