Former University of Prince Edward Island player Joel Ward potted the winning goal for Washington against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins Wednesday night.

The Washington Capitals goal at 2:57 of overtime gave them a 2-1 victory.

"Obviously this has been the biggest goal I ever scored and it felt good," said Ward.

"I thought at one moment I might have been slowly losing the respect of my teammates a little bit from a little down funk. I was kind of hoping to get back in there and contribute offensively."

The team the Capitals will face in the second round will be determined Thursday night.

Ward collected a shelful of awards playing for the UPEI Panthers, where he played from 2001-05. They include AUS MVP and All Star Awards. He was Panther MVP three years in a row.

Racial slurs mar social media

Ward's name has been trending on Twitter ever since his goal, but some of the posts have included racial slurs.

Ward is black, born in Toronto to two immigrants from Barbados.

Teammate Alexander Semin took to Twitter to lash out at the racial attacks.

"Hockey fans: some friendly trash talking is fine, but the racist comments directed at #Caps Joel Ward are truly shameful," Semin tweeted.

Other Tweeters noted the irony that the Boston Bruins were the first NHL team to break the colour barrier, recruiting Willie O'Ree to play forward for them in 1958.

On Thursday, the Washington Capitals issued a statement on the racist tweets:

"We are aware of some of the racial comments that were made following our overtime victory last night and are outraged by those individuals who expressed such ignorant comments. We find such comments to be totally unacceptable."