WASHINGTON — Braden Holtby and the Capitals patiently turned away the Senators.
Holtby made 26 saves in Washington's 2-1 victory Wednesday, lowering his NHL-best goals-against average to 1.83 and improving to 20-4-1.
"He's an eraser," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Good goaltending erases a lot of mistakes. I think his mental toughness is off the charts. I think everybody would agree in our room that he's the most valuable player for us so far this year."
Holtby credited his team's steady defense for making his job easier. The Capitals stayed away from turnovers in their zone and mistakes that gave Ottawa chances off scoring rushes.
Holtby has helped the Capitals earn points in the standings in his past 13 games.
Game highlights: Tuukka Rask stopped 34 shots for his fourth shutout to tie for the league lead and the host Bruins beat the Penguins 3-0, keeping new Penguins coach Mike Sullivan winless in two games.
First Period—1, Washington, Latta 2 (Orlov, Chorney), 14:06. Penalties—Neil, Ott (hooking), 2:34.
Second Period—2, Washington, Carlson 6 (Williams, Latta), 5:43. Penalties—Niskanen, Was (hooking), 11:54; Turris, Ott (interference), 12:20; T.Wilson, Was (tripping), 19:11.
Third Period—3, Ottawa, Ryan 10 (Turris, Karlsson), 15:46 (pp). Penalties—Neil, Ott (roughing), 15:20; T.Wilson, Was, served by Burakovsky match penalty (match—attempt to injure), 15:20. Shots on Goal—Ottawa 8-9-10—27. Washington 14-4-7—25. Power-play opportunities—Ottawa 1 of 3; Washington 0 of 2. Goalies—Ottawa, Hammond 2-1-2 (25 shots-23 saves). Washington, Holtby 20-4-1 (27-26).
First Period—1, Boston, Talbot 1 (McQuaid, Hayes), 9:52. Penalties—McQuaid, Bos (hooking), 2:39; Crosby, Pit (tripping), 7:28; C.Miller, Bos (holding), 14:05; Perron, Pit (interference), 18:11.
Second Period—2, Boston, Hayes 5 (Spooner, C.Miller), 4:00. Penalties—Chara, Bos (interference), 17:11.
Third Period—3, Boston, Spooner 8 (Bergeron, Eriksson), 17:17 (en-pp). Penalties—Kunitz, Pit (tripping), 5:45; Hornqvist, Pit (cross-checking), 16:40. Shots on Goal—Pittsburgh 6-18-10—34. Boston 10-4-15—29. Power-play opportunities—Pittsburgh 0 of 3; Boston 1 of 4. Goalies—Pittsburgh, Zatkoff 2-2-1 (28 shots-26 saves). Boston, Rask 12-7-3 (34-34).