The Washington Capitals gave up a game-tying shorthanded goal with 5:29 to play, failed to score on a two-minute power play in overtime and ended up tied, 4-4, with the Boston Bruins last night in their exhibition home opener before 9,860 at Capital Centre.

With Ken Linseman off for slashing, Glen Wesley, Tom Lehmann and Randy Burridge moved in on a three-on-two break. Wesley took a pass from Lehmann and used Burridge, who cut through the slot from the left side, as a screen to beat Clint Malarchuk from between the tops of the circles.

A hooking call against Greg Johnston with 2:54 left in overtime created the Capitals' advantage. However, Washington was disorganized on the power play and never threatened to score.

It didn't bother Coach Bryan Murray one bit. Of course, he wasn't thrilled, but heck, this is what the exhibition season is for.

"Ask me about the power play," Murray said with a smile at the start of his postgame meeting with the media.

No one did. There were, however, questions about Garry Galley, Paul Cavallini and Bill Houlder -- defensemen who are fighting for spots on the roster.

"I thought they all played well," Murray said, "but this is only the second {exhibition} game. What we want to do is look at these guys over the next six or seven games and get some idea of the level of consistency of these individuals. I mean last night {Friday} against Buffalo {a 3-1 loss to the Sabres at Buffalo}, Gary was probably near the bottom among the defensemen. Tonight, of course, he was near the top."

"I thought Gary moved the puck well, showed patience and didn't get caught out there," Murray said of Galley, 24, a three-year veteran, who had one goal and 10 assists in 18 games last season after coming to Washington in a February trade that sent goaltender Al Jensen to the Los Angeles Kings.

There were, however, lots of players who did get caught last night -- by referee Ron Hoggarth. The Capitals drew 19 penalties for 52 minutes, leading to six power plays on which they allowed two goals. The Bruins drew 20 penalties for 46 minutes, leading to seven power plays on which they allowed two goals.

Mark Hunter, acquired in the offseason from the Quebec Nordiques, made his first appearance in a Capitals uniform and did his usual: two scraps, one goal.

Mike Ridley had one goal and two assists, including a pass that sent Galley in alone on Bill Ranford for a short shot, the rebound of which rookie Scott McCrory flipped in to give Washington a 4-3 lead with 13:13 to play.