Perreault's trick leads Caps past Bruins
Washington Capitals forward Mathieu Perreault picked a perfect time for his first career hat trick, sending the Caps into the All-Star break with a win.
The third-year pro's three-goal night, including the game-winner in the third period, helped the Alex Ovechkin-less Caps past the mighty Boston Bruins 5-3 Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
With the game tied 3-3 heading into the pivotal third period, Perreault cleaned up a rebound off a Roman Hamrlik point shot in front of Bruins goalie Tuuku Rask to put the Caps up 4-3 at the 7:18 mark.
Washington never looked back, holding off eight third period Boston shots before getting the clinching goal from All-Star defenseman Dennis Wideman into the empty Bruins net with just 27 seconds remaining in the third.
It was a team effort from a Capitals squad playing its first of three games without captain Alex Ovechkin, who is serving a three-game suspension.
The team effort included points from 10 different Caps players, 30 hits and 21 blocked shots as a team. With a team missing two of it's star players in Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, who is still recovering from a concussion, it was important to get production from key role players.
Another key to a victory against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference was to get solid goaltending. Tomas Vokoun turned aside 29 of 32 Boston shots to earn his 20th win of the season. The veteran climbed into the top ten goalies in wins with the effort (8th).
Boston got goals from Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand. The Bruins spend Monday at the White House with President Barack Obama celebrating their Stanley Cup victory from last spring, their first in 39 years.
The packed house at Verizon Center saw rookie Cody Eakin and Wideman bookend Perreault's first career hat trick. The 24-year-old Perreault had just four goals in 19 games going into the night.
With the win, the Caps head into the All-Star break, where the team will send defenseman Dennis Wideman, in first place in the Southeast Divison with 55 points. The Florida Panthers also have 55 points but Washington holds the tiebreaker between the two clubs.