In a game where most web discussions shared a smiliar tone, an expectation of low shots on goal and a likely loss, due to the fact the Caps would not have Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Green in the lineup, Mathieu Perreault had other ideas. Perreault took over the offensive role vacated by a suspended Ovechkin, putting 5 shots on net and placing three past Bruins net minder Tuukka Rask, to mark his first career hat trick and lead the Capitals to a big 5-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup champ Boston Bruins. The win allowed Washington to head to the All Star break in sole posesession of first place in the Southeast Division, leading the Florida Pantehrs in point, 55-55, with the Caps holding a tie breaker.
Cody Eakin scored his 4th goal of the season to tie the game up early in the second period. Eakin's goal was stopped by Rask, but a movement by Rask dropped the puck off his shoulder and into the net for the tally. Eakin's goal was assisted by Joe Ward and Jay Beagle. Perreault notched his first of the night just 41 seconds later on a Caps rush to the net, fed by Alexander Semin to the right of Rask. Perreault buried the puck to give the Capitals a stunning 2-1 lead in a period of 41 seconds. Tyler Sequin scored his 19th of the season at the 12:21 mark of the second period to pull the Bruins back into a 2-2 tie. Two minutes later, Perreault made a nifty steal at center ice and broke away toward Rask and buried a slapper right past Rask to give the Caps the 3-2 lead over the 14 minute mark of the second period. The Caps could not hold the lead, giving up a tally to Brad Marchand past the 17 minute mark to send the game to a 3-3 tie at the end of the second period.
Although the Caps managed only 4 shots on goal in the final frame, 2 of those shots were for goals. Perreault completed the hat trick at the 7:18 mark, landing a Rask rebound in to the net. Perreault's final tally was solid proof of good things happen to those willing to sit in front of the net. Dennis Wideman buried the final marker with a length of ice empty net goal. It was Wideman's 9th of the season.
Tomas Vokoun earned the win, stopping 29 of 32 shots. He improved his season record to 20-12.
The Capitals go into the All Star break on a high note, having upended the defending champs at the Verizon Center. The Caps have the NHL's third best record in the NHL at home, improving to 18-6-2 with the home crowd.
Mathieu Perreault, 3 goals
Roman Hamrlik, 2 assists
DCPSR Player of the Game:
Mathieu Perreault, the Hat Trick!