WASHINGTON — David Krejci scored, Tuukka Rask made 24 saves and the Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitals 1-0 Sunday to snap a 14-game losing streak against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Boston beat Washington for the first time since March 29, 2014, and its 14 consecutive victories against Arizona are now the longest active winning streak against one opponent in the NHL. The Bruins snapped their three-game skid and handed the Capitals their eighth loss in nine games.
Outscored 45-21 during their 14-game run of futility, the Bruins dominated the Capitals in almost all facets of the game and would have blown them out if not for the play of goaltender Braden Holtby, who made 37 saves. Holtby was helpless to stop Krejci’s shot on a one-timer after a tic-tac-toe puck movement and a cross-ice pass from Torey Krug midway through the second.
Rask beat the Capitals for just the second time in 19 appearances against them, earning “TUUK!” chants from Bruins fans in attendance. His biggest stop came in the third period when he flashed the glove to snare a shot from Travis Boyd in the slot.
Rask picked up his 253rd career victory to take over first place on the Bruins’ all-time list.
Boston defenceman Brandon Carlo didn’t believe there was necessarily a theme or specific problem that led to such a lopsided stretch against Washington and thought his team was getting closer to breaking through. The Bruins scored first in only three of the previous 14 meetings, and getting the first goal Sunday allowed them to finally beat the Capitals.
In many ways, the Capitals also beat themselves with a lot of the same mental mistakes that contributed to a recent seven-game losing streak.
Fed up by those mistakes, Capitals coach Todd Reirden used ice time as a weapon to punish players. He benched Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitrij Jaskin for much of the first period after each took a penalty and Andre Burakovsky for the first few minutes of the second for a defensive-zone turnover that almost led to a goal.
Alex Ovechkin returned to the lineup after being forced to sit out Friday against Calgary for skipping All-Star Weekend. Ovechkin powered around Boston captain Zdeno Chara for a scoring chance in the first period but couldn’t crack Rask. He will need to wait at least one more game to pass Sergei Fedorov for the most points by a Russian player.
NOTES: Capitals C Lars Eller was out with a lower-body injury that caused him to leave Friday’s game against Calgary. … D Christian Djoos began a two-game conditioning assignment with Hershey of the American Hockey League. … Boston improved to 14-4-2 on Super Bowl Sunday, third in the NHL in such victories behind Montreal and Washington. … Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron played his 999th regular-season game.
Bruins: Host former Capitals coach Barry Trotz and the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders on Tuesday.
Capitals: Host Calder Trophy front-runner Elias Pettersson and the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press