Primeau scored twice and Boston beat Washington 3-2 on Monday night, snapping the Capitals' season-high, four-game winning streak.
"It feels good, but at the same time it feels better to get the win and get the two points," Primeau said. "We need them."
Bruins defenseman P.J. Axelsson shadowed Ovechkin, limiting the Capitals' top threat to two third-period shots. Ovechkin entered the game with an eight-game point streak, matching the rookie's season high.
"Ovechkin is such an explosive player. He's got such a quick first step, you've got to give him a little room," Axelsson said. "If you're too tight to him, he's going to outskate you down the ice."
Ovechkin, however, almost saved his best for last. His left-wing snap shot hit the left post with 1:43 left in regulation, but Chris Clark couldn't follow up the rebound for the tying goal.
Otherwise, the Capitals were undone by the same script they used to fashion their winning streak: tight defense, opportunistic offense and a few key saves.
"I don't know if you can expect your team to outwork people every single night," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "You can't. It's impossible."
Boston outshot the Capitals 13-4 in the opening period, taking a 1-0 lead on Primeau's goal at 6:00. Primeau scored at the right post on a wraparound, despite being hounded by Washington's Jeff Halpern.
Primeau struck again 12:31 into the second period, redirecting a shot past Brent Johnson for his 10th goal, his second two-goal game of the season and first since coming to Boston in a Nov. 30 trade with San Jose.
Nick Boynton set up the goal, pulling in a puck that appeared to have cleared the blue line at center point and sailing a wrist shot on net. The drive struck Primeau in front of the crease and knuckled past Johnson.
About four minutes later, Boyes made it 3-0. Boyes outhustled Jeff Friesen into the right corner for a dump-in, grabbed the puck and pushed it past Johnson.
Willsie cut the deficit to two goals with 1:16 remaining in the second, converting Matt Pettinger's left-side pass from the right of the crease.
Laich surprised Tim Thomas with a shot from low in the right circle, making it 3-2 2:51 into the third period.
With 4:49 left in the third, Primeau was whistled for a tripping penalty against Clark, giving Washington its fifth power play of the night. Boston's penalty-killers made sure their offensive spark's effort didn't go to waste.
"The coaches have done a great job of researching other teams and finding out what we have to do to either clog up the neutral zone," Primeau said. "We have the guys who are doing it."
- Isbister picked up his 100th career assist on Primeau's first goal.
- Washington played without D Jamie Heward (groin), while Halpern returned after missing seven of nine games because of a groin injury.
- Primeau's other two-goal effort was Oct. 12 against Columbus.