BOSTON -- Troy Brouwer scored with 1:27 left in the third period on Saturday, lifting the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 and putting the defending Stanley Cup champions on the brink of elimination in the opening round of the playoffs.
Brouwer fired a shot from the right faceoff circle and got it past goalie Tim Thomas for his second goal of the series, which Washington leads 3-2. The series returns to Washington right away for Game 6 on Sunday.
Boston's Benoit Pouliot was called for slashing with 2:50 left in the third with the game tied at 3-all after the Bruins had rallied from deficits of 2-0, then 3-2.
Dennis Seidenberg and Brad Marchand scored 18 seconds apart late in the second period for Boston to tie it. Then, after Mike Knuble put the Capitals up again on a goal early in the third, Johnny Boychuk one-timed a pass from Seidenberg to tie it once again.
Alexander Semin and Jay Beagle also scored for Washington and Braden Holtby made 34 saves for the Capitals, who are the first team in the series to string together consecutive wins.
Bruins fans were still on their feet cheering for Seidenberg's goal late in the second period when Marchand got his stick on the rebound off a slap shot from Boychuk.
The score was tied again, just as it was for the first 31 minutes. Semin had broken the scoreless tie when he poked in a rebound with 8:44 left in the second to put the Capitals up 1-0.
Dennis Wideman and Marcus Johansson got the assists, and then Jay Beagle put Washington ahead 2-0 when he intercepted a clearing attempt at the blue line and fired off a shot that handcuffed Thomas, glancing off his glove into the net.
The Bruins got an early power play when John Carlson was called for goaltender interference for bowling over Thomas just 2:30 into the game. Zdeno Chara had the best scoring chance with a one-timer from the circle that clanged off the far post. Chara came close again in the second with a shot from the blue line that Holtby got a piece of with his glove, then left pad.
Just a few minutes before, Holtby stopped a backhander from Marchand when he used a quick burst of speed to get around the Washington defense.
NOTES: Washington's 2-0 lead was the first time in the series either team led by more than a goal. ... If necessary, Game 7 is scheduled for Wednesday back in Boston. ... Washington's Nicklas Backstrom, who scored the winning goal in overtime of Game 2 to tie the series, returned from a one-game suspension for cross-checking Boston forward Rich Peverley in the face at the end of the Bruins' 4-3 win in Game 3 on Monday.