BOSTON (AP) — If the Washington Captials can combine Alex Ovechkin’s scoring with strong defense every game, coach Barry Trotz will be enjoying a lot of victories this season.
Ovechkin scored his first two goals of the season, Braden Holtby stopped 29 shots and Trotz earned his first win with the Capitals in a 4-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Trotz, the longtime coach of Nashville, was hired during the offseason after Washington missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years and fired Adam Oates.
Trotz talked during the preseason about the team — and Ovechkin — needing to pay more attention to defense.
“We played the way he wanted us to play,” Ovechkin said of the new system. “Of course guys are putting a little bit of pressure upon themselves. We played how he wanted us to play, especially in the D zone.”
The Capitals lost Trotz’s first game, 2-1 in a shootout to Montreal at home Thursday.
“As a coach you go into a season and you don’t relax until you get that first win,” he said.
He was also happy with how his team concentrated on the defensive end.
“They threw a lot of pucks at our net. We did a good job of clogging it up,” he said. “I thought the special teams were key for us tonight, obviously with the two power play goals, but we got some big kills.”
The three-time league MVP Ovechkin, who led the NHL with 51 goals last season, scored Washington’s first two of the game. Defenseman Mike Green had a power-play goal and Joel Ward added a late score.
Holtby stopped eight shots in the initial 8 1/2 minutes en route to his 12th career shutout, sending Boston to its second straight loss after a season-opening victory.
“They were moving the puck around in the first finding some cross seems, but I think we made an adjustment and it was good from there on,” he said. “We did a great job in shot lanes. That’s what wins you games.”
Boston’s Tuukka Rask made 17 saves. Last season’s Vezina Trophy winner has played all three of the Bruins’ games.
The Bruins have scored just three goals in their three games.
“We’re not off to a good start,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “Even our veteran guys have to be better. We have to be better in a lot of areas.”
The Bruins, who won the Presidents’ Trophy last season, didn’t lose consecutive regular season games after dropping contests Jan. 7 and 9.
“We can’t be really saying the offense is struggling,” Boston captain Zdeno Chara said. “We all are struggling.”
Eight seconds after Boston rookie Bobby Robins was sent to the penalty box for kneeing, Ovechkin one-timed John Carlson’s pass from the point past Rask from the left circle to move the Capitals ahead 1-0 at 11:26.
Ovechkin’s second goal of the game, coming off a nice feed from along the boards from Nicklas Backstrom, made it 2-0 at 18:39. Backstrom hustled from the right corner and outworked a Bruins’ player along the left boards before making a backhand pass to Ovechkin, who blistered a shot by Rask.
Holtby had a pair of nice stops — both on Chris Kelly’s bids from the slot — in the opening period. The first came at the 11-minute mark when he flashed his glove and the second was a left-pad stop.
Boston’s best chance came early in the third when Carl Soderberg broke in alone, shifted Holtby out of position, but he lost control of the puck just as he was attempting a shot.
Washington made it 3-0 when Green one-timed Evgeny Kuznetsov’s cross-ice pass by Rask 10:34 into the second.
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