BOSTON – The Washington Capitals lost a goalie, a forward and a 2-0 lead.

And they still managed to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Brooks Laich scored in the fourth round of a shootout Thursday night to give Washington a 3-2 victory against the Boston Bruins and help the Capitals hold onto the eighth spot in the East.

Washington is tied with Buffalo with 86 points; the Sabres have five games remaining and the Capitals have four.

The Bruins, who could have clinched a playoff berth with a win, fell behind 2-0 but scored twice in the final 3:10 of regulation to force overtime. The Bruins will try again Saturday against the New York Islanders

“It was good to come back, for sure. It was somewhat of a playoff-type game,” said Andrew Ference, who made it 2-2 with 1:16 left in the third. “They were obviously desperate to get points and it showed.”

Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist in a 1:55 span midway through the third period to give Washington a 2-0 lead. But the Bruins tied it on goals by David Krejci and Ference.

“This is the heat. Everybody likes playing in the heat,” Capitals Coach Dale Hunter said. “It’s playoff hockey. A team comes back late in the game, forces overtime and you never know what happens. You always say, ‘That team has momentum to win the game.’ But sometimes it doesn’t turn out that way.”

“We are back on track,” said Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, who had two assists. “We are happy to take two points and take a big step.”

Tim Thomas made 21 saves for the Bruins. Michal Neuvirth stopped 19 shots after coming in at the end of the first period when Tomas Vokoun left with an apparent injury.

Hunter said only that Vokoun was “OK.”

Washington came into the game trailing idle Buffalo by two points, but the importance of the game didn’t seem to register. The Capitals managed one shot in the first eight minutes and just two overall in the first period.

They did not help themselves when Jason Chimera was given a game misconduct late in the first for a charge that sent Adam McQuaid into the boards and knocked him out of the game. No further information on McQuaid’s condition was available.

“I was looking at Adam, I saw that he was kind of not quite responding well,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who had words with Chimera outside the penalty box. “So I was first of all worried about him.”

The Capitals killed off the five-minute major but not before Vokoun headed to the locker room. Still, Neuvirth managed to keep them in it until the third period.

Dennis Wideman, a former Bruin, beat Thomas over his left shoulder with 12:01 remaining in regulation. Less than two minutes later, Ovechkin picked up his second assist when he worked a two-on-one and drew Chara out to the left circle before feeding to Johansson in the middle.

His stick broke in two places as he scored.

“It was a perfect pass,” Johansson said. “He put it right in the wheelhouse for me and I just wanted to get it in the net. I was lucky that when my stick broke that the puck went in.”

It stayed that way until Chara flipped a wrist shot from the blue line toward the net and Krejci tipped it out of the air and into the goal with 3:10 to play in the third period. Just 1:55 later, Ference put it past Neuvirth to tie it and send the game into overtime.