Today was the first day of the NHL season and for the Washington Capitals, ooh baby they celebrated their banner raising right. At the end of the night they left the ice with a final score of 7-0 over the Boston Bruins. The Capitals star players shined, Nicklas Backstrom had a 3-point game, Alexander Ovechkin scored on the power play from his office, and Evgeni Kuznetsov has lost no steam whatsoever from his dominant 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-goal night. How did they get to the end though? Let’s get a recap and a look ahead on the game today against the Penguins.
Hours before puck drop, Tom Wilson was suspended for 20 games after an illegal check to the head of Oskar Sundqvist, so the Washington Capitals would have to take on the Bruins without their $5 million man. Just 24 seconds into the game T.J Oshie scored off a beautiful one-timer feed from Nicklas Backstrom, who else but the assist machine in the league? Just over a minute later, the Capitals strike again but this time it was Kuznetsov on the power play, the Capitals first of 6 power plays of the game. The Capitals ended up going into the locker room leading the Bruins in shots 12-9 and on the scoreboard 2-0.
Second period puck drop and fast forward 4:27 and Alex Ovechkin scores his first of the season on the power play from his office, where else? Pile on two more goals by Nic Dowd and John Carlson and that would be the end of Tuukka Rask’s night in net as he allows 5 goals on 19 shots. Not the best start to the season, however with this shows the debut of Jaroslav Halak in a Bruin’s uniform and he definitely outperformed what many people might have expected allowing 2 goals on 18 shots.
Now late in the third period, perennial instigator Brad Marchand jumps Lars Eller after a whistle after Eller taunts the Bruins bench following his first goal of the season and the 7th goal by the Capitals in the game. Marchand got an instigator penalty, a misconduct and a five-minute major for fighting on the play while Eller only got five minutes for fighting and one bloodied up head. Expect the league to potentially take a look at that play, while I expect nothing more than fine or a one game suspension at most, anything can happen. The game ended pretty civilly following that fight so keep an eye out for the next time these two clubs go head to head.
Overall the Capitals played the most complete game in defending Stanley Cup Champion openers in recent years. Holtby saved all 25 shots he faced, the penalty kill was outstanding, and the power play just lit the Bruins up. Tonight the Capitals face the Penguins in what is the Penguins home opener. The Penguins will look to get revenge on the Capitals after their Game 6 lost in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs which knocked them out from completing the Threepeat. Expect tonight to be something spectacular!