BOSTON -- Washington goaltender Craig Billington turned a rare start into a milestone victory last night at the FleetCenter.
Billington, a former Boston goalie, was making his second start of the season. The backup to the Caps' Olaf Kolzig recorded his 100th NHL victory in a 3-0 win over the Bruins before a crowd of 17,565 -- Boston's first sellout of the season.
But the Bruins' fans had little to cheer about and plenty to boo about as Billington, who played for the Bruins from 1994 through 1996 (15-14-3), turned aside 28 shots in racking up his eighth career shutout. It was the Capitals' first of the season.
Boston coach Pat Burns said he didn't blame the boo birds.
"We deserved it, every drop," he said. "We were falling down like the Keystone Cops," he said. "We were awful tonight."
The loss ended a four-game Bruins unbeaten streak (3-0-1) and halted their eight-game unbeaten streak at home (6-0-2).
"It is a tribute to Craig," Washington coach Ron Wilson said. "He has not played for so long, and for him to give us an effort like that, says a lot."
The Capitals extended their penalty-killing streak, blanking the Bruins on five power plays. They tied a modern NHL record the Caps hold with 12 straight games without giving up a power-play goal. They have turned back 53 straight man-advantage chances.
The Bruins dug themselves a big hole in the first period, when the Capitals scored a pair of goals, one short-handed by Andrei Nikolishin that opened a 2-0 lead at 17: 40. It was the Caps' third short-handed goal of the season.
The Bruins made a serious run at the Caps during their first man-advantage situation early in the first period, with Ray Bourque, Steve Heinze and Dave Andreychuk testing Billington with some hard shots.
The Bruins continued to dominate early, holding Washington without a shot until six minutes into the period. But the Capitals made up for lost time in a hurry.
Their leading scorer, Peter Bondra, scored his 11th of the season, sending a pass from Glen Metropolit past Dafoe. Bondra buried a one-timer from the circle at 12: 09 that eluded Dafoe's glove.
Washington was fighting off another power-play when the Caps' Ken Klee skated into the Boston zone and fed Nikolishin, who was alone near the top of the circle. Nikolishin spun completely around and sent a wrist shot past Dafoe, who was screened by Boston's Sergei Samsonov and the Capitals' Joe Sacco.
Nikolishin scored again, adding an empty-net goal with 27 seconds left in the game.