The Czech Daves picked up where they left off in the preseason, as David Krejci and David Pastrnak combined for seven points to lift the Bruins to a 5-2 season-opening win over the Capitals in DC.
To the highlights!
Patrice Bergeron got the Bruins started early in the first, collecting the rebound of a “shot with purpose” from Pastrnak to make it 1-0 Bruins.
Pastrnak would add one of his own a few minutes later, beating Darcy Kuemper five-hole with a nice spin-o-rama. 2-0 Bruins.
After starting the play with some nice hit evasion in the neutral zone, Taylor Hall finished the play by burying a Pastrnak feed to make it 3-0 Bruins.
The Caps got on the board after some nice patience from Dylan Strome was finished by Anthony Mantha, cutting it to 3-1 Bruins.
Conor Sheary would cut the Bruins’ lead to one just a few minutes later, beating Linus Ullmark off the rush to make it 3-2 Bruins.
It was the Daves once again, as Pastrnak failed to score on a breakaway but Krejci was there to help clean up, making it 4-2 Bruins.
Hampus Lindholm would add an empty-netter to seal the deal.
I’m not sure you can ask for much more out of a season opener than that — new coach, missing your best defenseman, missing one of your best forwards, retooled lineup…no problem.
I think it is fair to say that any concerns about Krejci not being able to play on NHL ice after spending a season in Czechia can be put to bed.
Obviously seven points will be hard to keep up, but if the Daves continue to fire on all cylinders like they did tonight, the Bruins are going to be a very tough team to handle, particularly when Brad Marchand returns.
While he didn’t have as many points as the Daves, Taylor Hall was very good tonight. He was engaged in all three zones, played a pretty physical game, and was generally noticeable (in a good way).
It’s probably unfair to draw conclusions from one game, but if you’re a Caps fan, you have to have concerns about that defensive effort. The contactless defense on Pastrnak’s goal, plus the inexcusable lapse on the Pastrnak breakaway/Krejci goal, were particularly bad.
Jake DeBrusk left the game and didn’t return, officially deemed suffering an upper-body injury. He appeared to hurt his hand after a fall in the corner in the first period.
Ullmark was good when called upon for the B’s tonight. While he might like to have the Sheary shot back, he more than made up for it with 13 saves and a goose egg in the third period to close the door.
Derek Forbort led the way for the B’s in TOI, logging 23:36. Somewhat surprisingly, Connor Clifton came in second at 22:07, including a whopping 4:46 shorthanded TOI.
If you’re going to have one minor complaint tonight, it might surround the play of the bottom six. While not necessarily BAD, I can’t remember either the third or fourth line really doing much. AJ Greer landed three shots on goal, more than Charlie Coyle, Craig Smith, Nick Foligno, Tomas Nosek, and Jakub Lauko combined (two).
Still, it was a pretty decent NHL debut for Lauko: 11+ minutes TOI, 2:10 on the PK, and three hits. Welcome to the show, kid.
The Bruins will be back at it at their home opener on Saturday night, a 7 PM start against Arizona.