BOSTON – Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Saturday morning that he hoped the addition of defenseman Mike Green to the lineup would give the Capitals a boost on the power play.
Green's return from an upper-body injury and forward Alex Ovechkin's typical magnificence did the trick in Trotz's first win behind the Capitals' bench.
Ovechkin scored his first two goals of the season, including one on the power play, in the first period, and Green scored a power-play goal in the second period of the Capitals' 4-0 victory against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
The Capitals, whose power play was 0-for-5 in a season-opening loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, were 2-for-4 against Boston. Washington killed off all four Boston power plays.
“It was big. I was telling the guys, I said, ‘Finally. I didn’t want to go 0-82; that would be sort of embarrassing,'” Trotz said. “So, as a coach, I always say you go into every season and you don’t really relax until you get the first win. So we got one, and I’m sure we’ll get another one along the way here.”
Goaltender Braden Holtby made 29 saves, and Joel Ward scored a third-period goal for the Capitals (1-0-1). Forwards Andre Burakovsky and Nicklas Backstrom each had two assists.
The Bruins (1-2-0) have lost two in a row in regulation for the first time since January. Goaltender Tuukka Rask stopped 17 of 21 shots but couldn’t stop the Bruins from following up their 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday with a home defeat that has them in need of a regroup.
“I think that we all are struggling,” Boston captain Zdeno Chara said. “It’s just one of those things that we knew we didn’t have our, I’m not even saying best game against Detroit, and we didn’t follow up being better for tonight’s game. [We] just got embarrassed, and I think we all got to really look at what we can start doing better and really take pride in that because a game like tonight, it’s not acceptable and for sure it’s something we have to correct and do it really fast.
"Because you can be saying whatever you want -- it’s early in the season -- but these games are as important as a game in midseason or the end of the season. So everybody has to be a lot better.”
Ovechkin opened the scoring during a power play after Bruins forward Bobby Robins was called for a kneeing penalty on the forecheck. The puck made its way back to defenseman John Carlson at the blue line off the faceoff, and Carlson set up Ovechkin for a one-timer from the left faceoff dot that reached the back of the net at 11:26.
With 1:21 left in the first, Ovechkin doubled the lead, this time at even strength. Backstrom ended up with the puck on his stick in the left corner and found Ovechkin cutting toward the net with a backhand pass. Ovechkin’s wrist shot from below the left dot beat Rask for a 2-0 lead.
“He’s playing good offensively, as you saw tonight,” Trotz said. “He’s shooting pucks, he’s scoring goals, but I’m really happy with him. The other part of his game is really good. He’s committed on the walls, he’s committed defensively, he’s just skating. He’s actually really fun to watch now again which is exciting for me, but it’s really got to be exciting for him because he’s one of the best players on the planet.”
The Bruins outshot the Capitals 14-7 in the first period.
Green extended Washington’s lead to 3-0 at 10:34 of the second period with a one-timer from above the left dot. Rookie center Evgeny Kuznetsov made a cross-ice pass to set up Green.
“It was a really important goal for us to go up 3-0. That goal was huge,” said Burakovsky, who earned the second assist on Green's goal. “It’s good for the second unit to score some goals too and show the guys that we are prepared to play puck as well.”
Green played 17:32. He had two shots on net and two hits.
“I was really happy with Mike,” Trotz said. “Not only was he contributing offensively, but he was really making good plays, good decisions. Defensively, he was really strong. So for a debut I didn’t know how he would be just coming off a little bit of an injury, so he was real strong. So I’m glad he got through that and I think he’s looking forward to a good season now.”
Ward tipped in Carlson’s shot at 18:46 of the third period for the final margin.
The Bruins will host the Colorado Avalanche on Monday. The Capitals will head home to play the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.