BOSTON -- Jim Hrivnak said the difference in the game was the goaltending, and he wasn't paying himself a compliment.
"I thought we played well. Sometimes you get lucky breaks and they got some lucky goals," said Hrivnak, who is now 10-4-1.
"Maybe that third goal [by Dave Reid, that made it 3-2] they scored on me kind of put our team down. It's hard to really say. They outplayed us in the first, we outplayed them in the second and in the third, their goalie [Andy Moog] outplayed me and that's the bottom line."
Despite being without two of their top defenseman -- Ray Bourque (back strain) and Gord Roberts (flu), Boston took a 2-0 ** lead after the first period, scoring one goal at the start of the period and the other at the end.
Joe Juneau put the Bruins on the board at 1:14 when he fired a low slapper from the top of the right circle that beat Hrivnak to the short side.
The second Boston goal came with Washington a man down.
After Dale Hunter was whistled off for tripping at 19:21, Adam Oates beat Mike Ridley on a faceoff, won the draw to Ted Donato at the left point and Donato fired in a slap shot. Oates swept in the rebound for the 2-0 advantage at 19:53.
The Caps were outshot 16-9 in the period but turned it on in the second and pulled to within a goal at 3:58.
Bob Carpenter skated the puck in along the right-wing boards and fired a shot at Moog. Winger Kelly Miller backhanded the rebound high into the net from in front of the crease.
The Caps were swarming the Boston net, taking a 10-1 shot advantage at the 8:30 mark of the second but it took them until the early third to tie the game, on a play set up by Peter Bondra.
Hunter took a pass down low from Bondra and passed through the crease to Dimitri Khristich near the left post. Khristich buried it at 1:06.
Boston took the lead again when Reid fired a 45-foot wrist shot past Hrivnak at 4:28. It was the Bruins' first shot of the period.
"It was a bad goal," said Hrivnak, shaking his head. "I was just handcuffed and I just missed it."
The Bruins got another goal, this time on the power play with a two-man advantage, when defenseman Gord Murphy blasted a shot from the high slot that was deflected off Ridley's stick and past Hrivnak at 7:20.
"It went off one of our player's sticks and I was going down and when I was going down it was already coming back up," said Hrivnak. "Nothing I could do."
Washington got one back when defenseman Al Iafrate broke through the middle from the defensive blue line, rushed up ice and let one fly from the blue line that scorched through Moog's pads, giving them a power-play goal (one-for-seven on the night) at 13:08 to pull the Caps within one.
But the Bruins staved off the Capitals for the rest of the period.
"That's the way it goes," said Caps coach Terry Murray. "You always like to think you deserve a better fate but that's the way it is. We had our opportunities. You have to take advantage of it and we just didn't. That's it."
It was the second meeting between the two teams with both of them winning at home. The last game was Nov. 25, with the Caps earning a 6-2 decision.
In their last 15 games, the Caps are 11-3-1.
"We had to come out better in the second period," said Murray. "The Bruins really came out hard. They were really fired up and playing without Bourque.
"And playing in this building, it's different than any other building in the league. They play the bounces, they play the boards, they play the dump-in very effectively and got a lot of traffic to the net and got some shots. We got a lot of opportunities in the second but if you look at a couple of saves Moog made . . . it's a different game. You've got to move the puck quickly, you have to have heads up and support the puck carrier. The game had good flow, it was a pretty entertaining game overall. At 2-2 it was exciting for everybody."
Washington 0 1 2 -- 3
Boston 2 0 2 -- 4