Jose Theodore shut out the New York Rangers to help the Capitals extend their winning streak at home to a franchise-record 13 games with a 2-0 victory on Saturday.
The Capitals goalie turned away 30 shots for his first shutout of the season and the 29th of his career.
“I thought he was great,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters of Theodore, who holds a 12-0-2 record in his last 14 starts. “I thought he was by far our best player. Any time they were putting pressure on us, Jose would get it and he would stop it, and he would not let a rebound go tonight and that’s, I think, the key to his game. He’s brimming with confidence and we hope he can keep it.”
Eric Fehr scored a power play goal in the first period, before Eric Belanger netted another just past the mid-point of the second period, his first since being acquired by Washington.
Theodore was tested early as the Rangers held sway in the opening 10 minutes and out-shot Washington 12-9 in the first period. Their early momentum was thwarted, however, by minor penalties 15 seconds apart that led to Fehr’s opening goal.
The Caps goalie had a couple of close calls, the first coming in the second period after a giveaway by Washington defenseman Shaone Morrisonn to Brandon Dubinsky. Theodore deflected Dubinsky’s shot from the slot with his blocker.
“I kind of froze a little bit when he faked the shot, but I didn’t go down,” Theodore said. “That was obviously a key save. As a goalie, there is not a better feeling than when you bail one of your friends out of trouble like that.”
Defenseman Mike Green then pitched in to protect Theodore’s clean sheet, clearing a shot from the goalmouth during a penalty in the third period.
Washington have not lost at the Verizon Center since Dec. 28 against the Carolina Hurricanes and are 25-3-3 at home this season, the best in the NHL.
The Capitals saw another streak end when they failed to score three or more goals for the first time in 23 games.
PENGUINS 6, STARS 3
Sidney Crosby scored twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins scored the final five goals in a victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday for their third consecutive NHL win since the Olympic break ended.
Crosby scored the Penguins fourth and fifth goals to take the NHL lead with 44 this season.
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored on his Penguins debut, while Jordan Staal, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis also had goals.
Mike Ribeiro and Brandon Segal each had a goal and an assist, while Loui Eriksson scored his 25th goal for Dallas, who have lost three straight since the NHL resumed play.
Saturday’s other results:
• Avalanche 7, Blues 3
• Lightning 6, Thrashers 2
• Panthers 4, Hurricanes 1
• Sharks 2, Blue Jackets 1
• Coyotes 4, Ducks 0
• Panthers 4, Hurricanes 1
• Canadiens 4, Kings 2
• Maple Leafs 2, Senators 1, SO
• Bruins 3, Islanders 2