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

Leaving the ice and seeing the results of other games around the NHL after beating the Boston Bruins 2-0 on Monday night, Washington Capitals players took turns telling each other that it doesn’t matter.

“We take care of our business, we know where we’re going to be at,” goaltender Charlie Lindgren said after his 16-save shutout.

One more victory and they’re in the playoffs.

After John Carlson scored another big goal, Lindgren made one crucial stop after another and Nic Dowd sealed it with an empty-netter with 11.7 seconds left, a win at Philadelphia on Tuesday night would put Washington back in the playoffs, regardless of other results.

“It’s in our hands, and that’s the best way,” All-Star winger Tom Wilson said.

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 and face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers.

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.

“I think the word ‘struggle’ is a compliment the way we played,” coach Jim Montgomery said. “I thought Washington, their desperation, how well they defended, how well they hung on to pucks in the offensive zone is the way we wanted to play.”

No one exemplified that intensity 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.

“Chucky came up with some big stops there sporadically throughout the whole game,” Carlson said. “And when it’s tight like that, that’s enormous.”

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.

“I thought he was very good — he gave us a chance,” Montgomery said. “There wasn’t a lot of bright spots. Just wasn’t. Swayman would be the biggest bright spot.”

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 Trent Frederic.

Malenstyn traveled with the team to Philly, coach Spencer Carbery said.

UP NEXT

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.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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