The Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals 5-2 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring for Boston with a power play goal from David Krejci and David Pastrnak at 7:58 of the first period. The goal was the 401st of Bergeron’s career and the fifth opening-night goal for the captain. Bergeron is now just one goal behind Rick Middleton for third all-time in Bruins history.
Pastrnak gave Boston a 2-0 lead with a turnaround shot that beat Capitals’ goaltender Darcy Kuemper at 15:03 of the first, assisted by Krejci and Connor Clifton. The Bruins finished the period with a 15-12 shot advantage.
At 6:14 of the second period, Pastrnak would set up Taylor Hall with a great pass for a goal to give Boston a 3-0 lead. Pastrnak is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and negotiations with the Bruins are continuing through the season.
The Capitals would get on the board a minute and twenty seconds after the Hall goal on a tally by Anthony Mantha to make it 3-1, assisted by Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson.
Conor Sheary would score to make it 3-2, converting a 2-on-1 after a Pastrnak chance at the other end at 12:43 of the second, and the Capitals were back in the game.
The Capitals would carry play in the third until Krejci scored at 16:17 of the third period, his third point of the night assisted by Pastrnak, who finished the night with four points for Boston. Hampus Lindholm sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 1:05 to play.
David Krejci makes an immediate impact upon his return to Boston. The “Czech Line” of Krejci, Pastrnak, and Pavel Zacha combine for eight points. With Brad Marchand out until late November/early December, the Bruins will be counting on this line to produce in a big way.
The Capitals power play is not what it once was. After finishing 23rd in the league last season, the Caps went 0-for-4 on the man advantage. Tom Wilson and Niklas Backstrom are on Long Term Injured Reserve, and Carl Hagelin is also injured. Until these forwards return, the Capitals might struggle to find consistency offensively.
Without defensemen Charlie McAvoy (shoulder surgery), Matt Grzelcyk (shoulder surgery), and Anton Stralman (Visa Problems), the Bruins were not at full strength on defense. The unit performed admirably in the win and showed much-needed depth on the blue line. Derek Forbort had a strong game with 23:36 of ice time.
The Bruins will face the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night in Boston, while the Capitals will be in Toronto Thursday night.