Even a two-goal rally in the third period for a tie against one of the NHL's best teams wasn't good enough for Washington Capitals veteran Rod Langway.
"It's a big point, but we could have had a win today," Langway said after Washington's 3-3 tie Sunday with the Boston Bruins, champions of the Adams Division. "The goals they got were basically on good bounces. "Goals from Michal Pivonka and Kelly Miller 2:09 apart provided the recovery that moved the Capitals into sole possession of third place in the Patrick Division, one point ahead of New Jersey and two points in front of Philadelphia. The first four teams make the playoffs.
Capitals Coach Terry Murray agreed with Langway that good fortune prevented Washington from picking up two points in the standings, particularly when Ron Hoover's third-period goal gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
"It's a lucky goal," Murray said. "(Hoover is) not a guy known for his goal scoring, not by any stretch of the imagination. He just put the puck on the net and it hit the crossbar and went in. Another quarter-inch and it just hits the crossbar."
The Bruins, who have gone 5-1-4 in their last 10 games, have not lost at Washington since November 1987. The tie kept the Bruins unbeaten in overtime this season (5-0-12).
Pivonka's first of two goals came on a redirection of Ken Sabourin's pass, staking the Capitals to a 1-0 lead with 14:40 gone in the first period.
Cam Neely knotted the score late in the second period with his 48th goal. Neely poked the puck through Langway's legs and had a clear route to the net, where he beat goaltender Don Beaupre with a wrist shot.
Ray Bourque broke the tie early in the third period, banging home the rebound of a Neely slap shot. Fifty-six seconds later, Hoover beat Beaupre with a wrist shot to give Boston a 3-1 lead.
But the Capitals countered with the quick goals from Pivonka and Miller.
Rangers 3, Islanders 1
At New York, third-period goals by Brian Mullen and Corey Millen broke a tie and helped the Rangers break an eight-game losing streak and clinch a playoff berth.
Sabres 6, Flyers 2
At Buffalo, N.Y., Alexander Mogilny scored two unassisted goals to lead the Sabres. Mogilny's first goal came after he stripped the puck from Philadelphia's Jeff Chychrun and slid a 15 foot-shot past goaltender Ken Wregget.
Blackhawks 5, North Stars 4
At Chicago, Mike Hudson scored twice during the Blackhawks' five-goal second-period to power Chicago. Steve Larmer's assist on Chicago's fourth goal, by Michel Goulet, gave the veteran right wing 100 points on the season, making him only the third player in Blackhawks history to reach that mark.
Kings 4, Oilers 3
At Edmonton, Alberta, Tomas Sandstrom scored his second goal on a 2-on-1 break with Wayne Gretzky at 3:30 of overtime to give Los Angeles the victory. The winning goal came with Edmonton's Ken Linseman sitting out a boarding penalty.