Holtby makes 32 saves, Capitals slow surging Bruins 2-0

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) and defenseman Karl Alzner (27) defend with goalie Braden Holtby (70) in the goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington.

    Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) and defenseman Karl Alzner (27) defend with goalie Braden Holtby (70) in the goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19), from Sweden, defenseman John Carlson (74) and left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, celebrate Carlson's goal in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington. Backstrom was given an assist on the goal and with that became the Capitals franchise all time assist leader.

    Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19), from Sweden, defenseman John Carlson (74) and left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, celebrate Carlson's goal in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington. Backstrom was given an assist on the goal and with that became the Capitals franchise all time assist leader. Associated Press

  • Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) works against Boston Bruins left wing Loui Eriksson (21), from Sweden, with goalie Braden Holtby (70) in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington.

    Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) works against Boston Bruins left wing Loui Eriksson (21), from Sweden, with goalie Braden Holtby (70) in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47) dives to the ice with Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92), from Russia, defending in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington.

    Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47) dives to the ice with Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92), from Russia, defending in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (44), from Germany, Washington Capitals right wing Joel Ward (42) and goalie Tuukka Rask (40), from Finland reach for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington.

    Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (44), from Germany, Washington Capitals right wing Joel Ward (42) and goalie Tuukka Rask (40), from Finland reach for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, can't get the rebound after his shot was deflected by Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40), from Finland, in the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington.

    Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, can't get the rebound after his shot was deflected by Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40), from Finland, in the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) is hit by Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63), who was given a two minute penalty on the play, in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington.

    Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) is hit by Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63), who was given a two minute penalty on the play, in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Washington. Associated Press

 
By HARVEY VALENTINE
Updated 3/15/2015 10:19 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals were scuffling while the Boston Bruins had been streaking.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby helped alter both story lines.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Holtby made 32 saves for his eighth shutout of the season, Nicklas Backstrom became Washington's career assists leader, and the Capitals cooled off the surging Bruins with a 2-0 victory Sunday night.

Rebounding from being pulled during the second period of Friday night's loss after allowing four goals on 22 shots, Holtby blanked Boston for the second time this season.

"I think all of us took that to heart, how we played the other night," he said of Washington's 4-2 loss to Dallas, which resulted in a players-only meeting.

"Something I learned at a young age was it's OK to have one bad game, just make sure it's not two in a row. So we all kind of had that mentality."

Washington, which had lost three of four on its five-game homestand, moved two points ahead of Boston for the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I think this shows there is good leadership in the room," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "It was a great response."

Backstrom assisted on goals by John Carlson and Nate Schmidt, moving past Michal Pivonka and Alex Ovechkin (418 each) on the Capitals' assists list with 420.

"It's a nice bonus," the low-key Backstrom said. "It's always (nice) when you get credit for something; maybe you've done something good."

The Bruins had won five straight, and were 7-0-1 in their last eight. Tuukka Rask, playing his second game in as two nights, stopped 36 shots.

"Obviously, when you give up the first goal it's tougher," Rask said, "but I thought we got better as the game went on. We just couldn't score on Holtby again."

Washington scored on its only power-play opportunity, then killed off all four Boston chances.

After mustering only 20 shots Friday night, the Capitals outshot the Bruins 10-1 over the first 4:15 - but nothing got by Rask.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Then at 12:27, Brad Marchand went off for roughing and it took Washington just 16 seconds to convert. Backstrom fed Carlson, and Carlson one-timed a shot past Rask from the point for his 11th of the season.

Backstrom leads the NHL with 53 assists, including seven in his last seven games.

Boston stepped up the pressure on Holtby in the second, but he was equal to it, stopping 14 shots, including a point-blank slapper from Torey Krug.

"I don't know how he does it," Schmidt said. "Everyone else is all ramped up and he's as cool as a cucumber at all times."

Fortuitous deflections aided Washington's second goal. Tom Wilson's shot was blocked right to Schmidt, whose drive from the point deflected in off Boston's Gregory Campbell. It was Schmidt's first goal of the season.

"We missed some opportunities and the second goal kind of hurt us a lot," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "The puck is going wide and it hits Campbell and goes in, so they got a break on that."

NOTES: It was the sixth time this season Rask has started both games of a back-to-back. He's 5-0-1 in the first game, but 0-4-2 in the second. ... Boston had scored first in 11 straight games. ... Pivonka played for Washington from 1986-99. ... With backup G Justin Peters (lower-body injury) day to day, the Capitals recalled G Philipp Grubauer from Hershey of the AHL, along with RW Chris Conner. C Andre Burakovsky was reassigned to Hershey. ... Washington was without C Michael Latta (upper body), RW Jay Beagle (upper body) and D Brooks Orpik (lower body).

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.