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Washington Capitals goaltender Pheonix Copley (1) makes a save in front of Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (61) and Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) during second period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, Saturday December 22, 2018.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Pheonix Copley stayed modest after earning his first career shutout.

The North Pole, Alaska, native made 35 saves as the Washington Capitals beat the Ottawa Senators 4-0 Saturday night.

“The guys did a great job blocking shots and denying them great chances,” said Copley. “It was a real good team win.”

Brett Connolly had a goal and an assist to give Copley all the support he would need on the night.

“We talked about (the shutout) between the second and third,” said Connolly. “It’s good to see him get that shutout. It’s obviously a big moment for him and he’s played so well this season.”

Matt Niskanen, Jakub Vrana and Michal Kempny also scored for the Capitals (22-10-3). Washington is now 7-1-0 in its past eight games and has scored at least four goals in 10 of its past 13.

Mike McKenna stopped 29 shots in place of the injured Craig Anderson. With Anderson dealing with an upper-body injury Marcus Hogberg was recalled from the American Hockey League’s Belleville Senators.

Copley is the first rookie goaltender to blank the Senators since James Reimer in 2011.

The score was hardly flattering to the Senators, but head coach Guy Boucher wasn’t disappointed by his team’s effort.

“It wasn’t a 4-0 game that’s for sure,” Boucher said. “We played really well and had so many scoring chances and their goalie stoned us. You see the difference between what we’re aspiring to be and what they are and what they’ve become over time.”

What stood out most for Boucher was turnovers. The Senators were able to create numerous opportunities but were unable to capitalize, whereas the Capitals made the most of their chances.

Ottawa heads into the break having lost back-to-back games by a combined score of 9-2.

“We can’t really think about it that way, we have to look at it as a point in time of the season and just because it’s before Christmas doesn’t mean it means more,” said Matt Duchene. “If anything, hopefully we can think about and maybe build a little fire for the next game.”

Washington took a 3-0 lead midway through the second as Vrana stole the puck from Mark Stone and beat McKenna with a great move. Kempny made it 4-0 at the 13-minute mark when his point shot deflected off Cody Ceci.

The Senators trailed 2-0 after the first period, but it could have been more if it wasn’t for McKenna.

Connolly opened the scoring at 1:32 as he re-directed Jonas Siegenthaler’s point shot.

“When we’re ahead in games we’re definitely better,” said Connolly. “We know when we’re behind we have a lot of guys that can hurt you as well, but when we get the first one we settle in and definitely on a back-to-back it makes it easier so it was good to get that first one.”

McKenna then went on to make an impressive glove saves on Andre Burakovsky and Travis Boyd. Bobby Ryan also stopped a sure goal when McKenna was caught out of position.

“I asked the goalie coach if my form was OK and he said I didn’t control the rebound because I gave it right back to him off my leg,” joked Ryan. “It just bought enough time for (McKenna) to get back and make the more important save. I don’t know how I ended up in the crease, but maybe it saved a goal.”

The Capitals took a two-goal lead late in the period as Niskanen got behind Ceci and tipped Nicklas Backstrom’s pass for his fifth of the season.

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