WASHINGTON (AP) — Braden Holtby made 27 saves while shutting out the Boston Bruins for the third time this season, Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist and the Washington Capitals defeated the Bruins 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Holtby earned his 41st win of the season to match the franchise record set by Olie Kolzig in 1999-00.
His nine shutouts this season equal the franchise record set by Jim Carey in 1995-96 and also tie Montreal’s Carey Price and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury for the league lead this season.
John Carlson and Matt Niskanen also scored for Washington, which leads the Islanders by three points for second place in the Metropolitan Division and home ice in the first round of the playoffs. New York has one game in hand.
Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer each had two assists for the Capitals, who have won nine of 12.
Boston, which had won five straight, still holds second wild card in the Eastern Conference with 95 points. Both the Bruins and the Ottawa Senators (95 points) have two games remaining, and Boston has two more regulation and overtime wins.
The previous goalie to record three shutouts in a single season against the same opponent was Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes against the San Jose Sharks in 2011-12, according to STATS.
Holtby also blanked the Bruins 4-0 in Boston on Oct. 11 and 2-0 at home on March 14.
Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots for Boston, which suffered the first scoreless sweep (in a season series of two or more games) in its history.
Preserving a 2-0 lead, Holtby made a series of strong saves in the second period.
Near the six-minute mark, he stopped Loui Eriksson on a breakaway, and four minutes later he stopped Milan Lucic, who tried to go between the pads on another breakaway.
Later in the period, Holtby lost his stick for 15-20 seconds following a collision. Boston couldn’t take advantage as he stopped its only shot of that stretch with his chest.
The Capitals increased their lead to 3-0 at 17:47 of the second when Evgeny Kuznetsov appeared to be carrying the puck behind the net, but at the last instant passed in front to Johansson, who slid a shot in off Rask’s pads.
Washington took a 1-0 lead at 4:49 of the first when Backstrom passed across ice to Carlson, who fired over Rask’s shoulder for his 12th of the season.
The Capitals made it 2-0 at 7:06 when Niskanen’s blast from the point deflected off the stick of Bruins defenseman Zach Trotman and past Rask.
NOTES: Washington swept the season series for the first time since 1982-83. … Rask has played in 68 games with two remaining. The team record (70) is shared by three men, most recently Eddie Johnston in 1963-64. . RW Stanislav Galiev, a third-round pick by Washington in the 2010 draft, made his NHL debut. . The Capitals were without C Eric Fehr (upper body injury), RW Jay Beagle (upper body) and RW Tom Wilson (upper body). … Boston D Dougie Hamilton (undisclosed) missed his 11th game.
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