The Washington Capitals had to pull off a quick transition from celebrating their Stanley Cup banner going up to playing a season opener. It was a good problem to have, but it turned out there was never anything to worry about.
The Capitals scored twice in the first two minutes of the new season and went on to embarrass the Boston Bruins 7-0 Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. It was the Capitals‘ first seven-goal win since Nov. 1, 2013.
Evgeny Kuznetsov had two goals and Nicklas Backstrom recorded three assists for Washington. Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, Lars Eller and Nic Dowd also scored, and Braden Holtby added an assist to a 25-save shutout.
The Capitals (1-0-0) scored on each of their first four power plays and chased Boston goalie Tuukka Rask less than halfway into the game. Fans, seeing a dominant product on the rink, kept up their “back-to-back” cheers long after the Cup banner was raised and throughout the night.
On the first shift of the game, Backstrom found Oshie on a long pass across the offensive zone, and Oshie one-timed it from the very front of the left circle to score. The primary assist was Backstrom’s 800th career point, and he is now only seven assists away from 600.
The next goal came one whole second into their first power play of the season. The Bruins won the faceoff in the Capitals‘ zone, but it bounced toward the net and Rask tried to knock the puck out. Kuznetsov moved in and wristed it behind Rask’s back for a two-goal lead in 1:47 worth of action.
The night of firsts continued in the second period. Ovechkin’s first tally of the season re-familiarized everyone with his “office” in the left circle. Then the fourth line got in on the action, and Dowd, the team’s new center, scored his first goal as a Capital with a spin move and a backhander. He had three goals all of last season.
Kuznetsov’s second goal, which squeezed between Rask’s arm and the near pipe, was the last straw for the Bruins, who pulled the goalie less than 30 minutes into the game. Rask is now 1-11-5 against the Capitals in his career.
Carlson continued the Capitals‘ dominant power play, particularly when shooting from the left circle. With the team enjoying 27 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage, Carlson was the beneficiary of a bang-bang setup from Ovechkin and Backstrom and slapped home the fourth goal of the period.
Washington will have a quick turnaround to carry this momentum to Pittsburgh Thursday night for the latter half of a back-to-back against the Penguins.