The Boston Bruins kicked off their ninety-ninth season in Washington with a five to two win over the Capitals. This was an impressive statement win for the Bruins, with them having high expectations going into the season. The Bruins are currently one of the oldest teams in the league, with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand being the front linesmen of the team. With some injured key players, including Marchand, some thought it would be a tall task to take on Alexander Ovechkin and his strong supporting cast.
The Bruins started off hot in the first period, with a goal by Patrice Bergeron during a Bruins power play, which was set up by a shot deflection off the goal tender via a shot on goal by twenty-six- year-old right winger David Pastrnak. Bergeron was at the right place at the right time, sitting in front of the goal, able to capitalize off the missed shot by Pastrnak. Pastrnak found himself near the net again, this time with beautiful goal of his own. Pastrnak came off the wall, and used the defender as a screen, spinning around setting up a shot through the five hole. The Capitals had their fair share of offensive opportunities, with them having a close miss and a power play due to a penalty by left winger Taylor Hall, but they defended well.
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Pastrnak found himself near the goal again, with a great pass to Hall who then redeemed his penalty by scoring a goal. Only seven minutes into the second period, the Bruins were making a statement going up on the Capitals three to zero. Being at home, the Capitals were not about to take this sitting down. A minute and twenty seconds after the goal by Hall, Washington responded with a goal of their own, off the stick of Capitals forward Anthony Mantha, making the score three to one.
The Capitals had a scoring opportunity later in the period with a power play due to a slashing penalty on Taylor Hall, but the Bruins escaped without letting up a goal. The good fortune was not long lasting for the Bruins though, with the Capitals capitalizing on a blocked shot by Pastrnak, quickly taking the puck up ice, creating a three on one, with Washington right winger Conor Sheary delivering a quick wrist shot to the four hole to make the game three to two. Washington had another power play but failed to score.
By the third period, it was clear that both offenses were being aggressive with the Bruins and Capitals each having twenty-three shots on goal. Boston had two power plays, but they came away empty handed. The Bruins kept pressing the issue, with them scoring another goal to put them up four to two. David Pastrnak had a shot on the right side of the goal deflected by Washington goalie Darcy Kuemper, the only problem was David Krejci was waiting on the left side and scored. The Capitals became desperate for an answer, which caused them to pull their goal tender towards the end of the game, causing an open net goal by defenseman Hampus Lindholm. The final score from Washington was five to two Bruins.
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It has been said that the Bruins are going in the direction of a more offensively minded play style, considering new Head Coach Jim Montgomery changing the system a bit. The players have said that Montgomery is a “player’s coach”, and this new approach allows the players to play more instinctively, and it certainly showed last night. The DNA of the old hardnosed, defensive minded Boston Bruins we all know and love still seems to exist, with them having 100% penalty killing percentage in last nights game. Montgomery had a decision to make before the game, concerning whether to start veteran goal tender Linus Ullmark, or second year pro Jeremy Swayman. The Head Coach went with Ullmark, and it proved to be a good decision, with him making thirty-three saves.
David Pastrnak was very impressive, with him being around the net constantly, resulting in a goal and three assists, along with leading the team in shots with six. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci proved that even in their older age, they can still play at a high level. Bergeron and Krejci both had a goal apiece, and Krejci had two assists. This was a great statement win to open the NHL season for Boston. The Bruins will take on the Arizona Coyotes at home on Saturday, followed by the Florida Panthers the following Monday and the Ottawa Senators the following day. The NHL season is now in full swing, and the Boston Bruins have put themselves in a good position to start.
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