Boston -- Alexander Semin scored on a slap shot from just inside the red line only 22 seconds into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday in a matchup of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Zdeno Chara's 100th career goal with 4:37 left in regulation forced overtime, but it didn't last long. Soon after the first faceoff, Semin brought the puck over the red line and launched a hard but apparently harmless slapper at the net that trickled through Tim Thomas' pads for the winner.
Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 45th goal of the season for the Capitals, who improved to eight points behind first-place Boston in the race for home ice in the East.
Jose Theodore made 34 saves for Washington, but he let Chara's shot sneak inside the post on his glove side to allow Boston to force overtime and keep the Capitals from gaining two points in the standings. The Capitals won the season series against Boston 3-1.
Thomas stopped 28 shots for Boston. Marc Savard had three assists, Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist and Matt Hunwick also scored for the Bruins, who lost at home for just the fourth time in their last 27 games. Savard, who left Thursday night's game with an unspecified injury, had two assists for the third time in four games.
Ovechkin scored his 14th goal in 15 games when he squeezed a wrist shot inside the post to beat Thomas and give the Capitals a 2-1 lead 8:48 into the second period. But Kessel scored just 18 seconds later, on a cross-ice pass from Savard to tie it.
Tomas Fleischmann broke the tie with 17:40 left when he banked a seemingly harmless shot in off defenseman Dennis Wideman.
Nicklas Backstrom also scored for Washington.
Notes: Capitals forward Michael Nylander was a healthy scratch. ... Washington has scored 15 first-period goals this season, three short of the franchise record. ... Boston forward Milan Lucic, who also sat out the third period of Thursday's game with an injury, was scratched. ... Backstrom extended his point-scoring streak to eight games.