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game recap

Capitals score six, shut out Blackhawks

Braden Holtby makes 23 saves, Washington wins eighth in row

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Braden Holtby made 24 saves in his NHL-leading sixth shutout of the season, and the Washington Capitals won their eighth consecutive game, 6-0 against the Chicago Blackhawks at Verizon Center on Friday.

Jay Beagle scored two goals, and Nicklas Backstrom, Brett Connolly, Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie scored for the Capitals (28-9-5).

"The only thing we're trying to do after every game is reset and get back to work next game," Backstrom said. "We've been doing that pretty good lately. I feel like the whole team has been playing better too. ... It's just the way it's been going lately, so hopefully we just keep it going."

 

WATCH: All Capitals vs. Blackhawks highlights

 

Holtby has five shutouts in his past 14 games and has allowed three goals in winning his past five games. He has not allowed an even-strength goal since Jan. 3, when he was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I worked on a few things that I wanted to get better at, but we've been playing pretty well through that stretch too," Holtby said. "We've got a bit of luck here and there, a couple posts and such. There's still things to work on, but our game and my game are going in the right direction."

Corey Crawford made 25 saves for the Blackhawks (27-13-5), who had won four in a row. Scott Darling made three saves in third-period relief.

Video: Braden Holtby earns Friday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

"Certainly nothing good to talk about tonight," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was a big game to start with and we didn't meet the challenge. We had a better second period, but the first period, we didn't touch the puck much and gave up a bunch of quality [chances]. And in the second period we got ourselves back in the game a little bit and had a little bit of a sniff. But it ends up [4-0], now it's a gigantic hole against a good hockey team."

Beagle scored at 6:04 of the first period to give Washington a 1-0 lead. Backstrom finished a feed from Oshie 13 seconds later to make it 2-0, and Connolly scored at 17:49 for a 3-0 lead.

Wilson's goal with 2:59 remaining in the second period increased the lead to 4-0. The goal was his first since Dec. 11, third of the season. He had two assists for his first three-point game in the NHL.

Oshie gave Washington a 5-0 lead at 8:11 of the third. His pass deflected off the hand of Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson into the net.

Beagle scored with 1:32 remaining to make it 6-0, his eighth of the season. He has four goals in his past two games against Chicago.

 

Goal of the game

Oshie played the setup man for Backstrom with a slick centering pass.

Video: CHI@WSH: Oshie lights the lamp after shot deflects in

 

Save of the game

Crawford stopped Justin Williams on two tries up close early in the first period.

 

Highlight of the game

Daniel Winnik took advantage of a turnover by Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival and found Beagle coming through on the rush.

Video: CHI@WSH: Beagle buries one-timer to open the scoring

 

They said it

"I use the term 'everybody pulling on the same rope.' All four lines were pulling on the rope. You saw production right through the whole lineup there. I think that's what our strength is. We're in probably one of our tougher stretches in terms of games, so we need everybody to share the workload, not just your top guys." --- Capitals coach Barry Trotz

 

"We've come to the rink every single time expecting a tight game. That's usually the way that this league works. But we've been able to really pick up our game and play with joy and play with intensity. It's just been working out really good. We've been getting the bounces too. You look at some of the plays today, we got a lot of nice bounces. Things are just going right." -- Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner

 

"We knew they've been playing really good hockey lately, Washington, and we just pretty much did everything we said we wouldn't do, or weren't supposed to do. That was one of those two or three games that you have a year that you're just being outplayed really bad, and that was probably as outplayed as I've been in a long time." -- Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson

 

Need to know

Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner became the third defenseman since 1943-44 to play in 500 consecutive NHL games, joining Jay Bouwmeester of the St. Louis Blues and Keith Yandle of the New York Rangers. Alzner has the fifth-longest active streak in the League.

 

What's next

Blackhawks: Host the Minnesota Wild on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, CSN-PH, CSN-DC, NHL.TV)

 Video: Beagle scores a pair as Caps blank Blackhawks, 6-0

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