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03/29/2014 4:58 PM EDT
Bruins top Capitals 4-2, clinch Atlantic Division
BOSTON 4, WASHINGTON 2

By JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Check two more items off the list in an
impressive homestretch by the Boston Bruins. They are now
Atlantic Division champions, and Jarome Iginla has recovered
from his slow start to reach 30 goals once again.

Boston accomplished those feats Saturday against the Washington
Capitals, a desperate team whose first and foremost goal -
making the playoffs for a seventh straight season - looked a bit
more distant after Saturday's 4-2 loss.

"We need these wins so bad," Washington defenseman Karl Alzner
said, "that sometimes you overplay. It can be a big problem that
can really mess your game up."

And it's not a good idea to mess up against the Bruins, who have
won 14 of 15 and have allowed only 13 goals over 11 games.
Iginla scored twice, and Carl Soderberg added a goal to give
Boston a 3-0 lead in the second period, more than enough to hold
off a surge from a Washington team that woke up too late.

The Bruins had already clinched a playoff spot, so the division
title didn't create so much as a celebratory ripple in the
locker room.

"We don't even talk about that. I wasn't even - I knew there was
something that would happen if we won tonight, but we find out
now we've clinched and that's fine," coach Claude Julien said.
"Again, we've got an opportunity to do even more than that."

Patrice Bergeron added a third-period goal to extend his
goal-scoring streak to a career-high six games, and Chad Johnson
made 31 saves. Iginla reached the 30-goal mark for the 12th
time, a nice comeback after scoring only four in the first 24
games this season.

"When you look at the start he had, nobody would have predicted
that," Julien said. "But he's a pretty streaky goal-scorer."

Iginla now has 10 goals in nine games.

"I've been getting some good bounces lately, and it's been a fun
year," he said. "Fun to win games and be at the top of the
league, and to be on some streaks as a group."

Washington began the day tied with Columbus, Detroit and Toronto
in what has essentially become a four-way race for two playoff
spots, but the Capitals would lose a tiebreaker against all
three teams.

The Bruins gave the Capitals' top-rated power play only three
chances, and they corralled Alex Ovechkin enough to keep the
NHL's leading goal scorer in a 5-on-5 slump. Ovechkin has 48
goals this season, but hasn't scored at even-strength since Feb.
27.

The Capitals had no shots on goal in the first 6 minutes and
only two after 14 minutes. The game was scoreless after the
first period solely because of goalie Braden Holtby, but he
could hold down the fort for only so long. A turnover at center
ice allowed Soderberg to spring Iginla for a breakaway that
opened the scoring in the second period.

A few minutes later, Soderberg redirected an already deflected
shot by Bergeron on a power play to make it 2-0, and Iginla made
it a three-goal lead by stuffing in his own rebound 41 seconds
later.

Washington coach Adam Oates said he was "shocked" at how poorly
his team started.

"I thought our forechecking was lousy," Oates said.

When the Capitals finally turned up the intensity, it came from
the third line that has led the team in recent weeks. Jason
Chimera put Washington on the board with 10 seconds remaining in
the second period, and a dominant shift by Chimera's line drew a
penalty on Andrej Meszaros in the third.

But the Capitals couldn't score during the man-advantage, and
soon the Bruins had a power play of their own. With Ovechkin off
for charging, Bergeron put in a rebound to restore the
three-goal cushion.

Oates said the penalty on Ovechkin was a "terrible" call.

"I don't like the call, but he called it," Oates said. "He saw
something that I don't agree with now, but our job is to kill
it."

NOTES: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his second NHL goal in the final
minute. ... Capitals D Jack Hillen sat out with an upper-body
injury sustained in a collision with Ovechkin during overtime of
Tuesday's loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Hillen was replaced by
John Erskine, who had been out with a lower-body injury and
played for the first time since March 5. ... The Capitals are
the last team to beat the Bruins in regulation, a 4-2 win on
March 1. Since then, Boston has outscored opponents 54-20 in
non-shootout goals.

---

Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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