The Boston Bruins' season opener could not have gone worse. After watching the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals raise their championship banner at Capital One Arena, they allowed two goals within the opening two minutes and the Caps rolled from there in a 7-0 shellacking to open the 2018-19 NHL season.
Capitals winger T.J. Oshie opened the scoring just 24 seconds in, burying a one-timer from the low faceoff dot past Tuukka Rask. Just 1:23 later, Evgeny Kuznetsov capitalized on the first power play of the season when he gathered a bouncing puck in close proximity and shoveled it into the net untouched.
The Caps' power play was just getting started. They scored three times on the man advantage in a four-goal second period, starting with a rocket by Alex Ovechkin from his sweet spot at the top of the left faceoff circle. Nic Dowd made it 4-0 at even strength, twirling a backhander past Rask off a Matt Grzelcyk turnover in the slot.
Kuznetsov added his second of the game on a goal that Rask would certainly like to have back. Barreling down the left boards, Kuznetsov flipped the puck toward the net from the bottom of the faceoff dot and it squeaked between Rask and the post to make it 5-0.
That's the goal that finally chased Rask from the game, just 7:28 into the second period. Rask made 14 saves, compared to 16 for backup Jaroslav Halak. The first goal allowed by Halak in relief came on a power play from a wicked one-timer by John Carlson, the second off the stick of Lars Eller.
Brad Marchand and the Bruins apparently didn't like Eller's effort on the goal and the ensuing celebration, which came midway through the third period of what had just become a 7-0 game. Marchand dropped the gloves and made Eller bleed with a few good punches for his troubles.
Little fistball of hate. pic.twitter.com/WVvhEx6L7G
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) October 4, 2018
But by that point, the damage had been done. The Bruins struggled to win simple puck battles all night, and failed spectacularly on both special teams units (0-for-2 on the power play, 2-for-6 on the penalty kill). Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, who captured his first shutout since April 5, 2017, faced little in the way of quality scoring chances. He's now 15-2 in his career against the Bruins with just 30 goals allowed in those games.
The Bruins have to regroup quickly, because they're headed to Buffalo for a Thursday night matchup with the Buffalo Sabres. They may bounce back, but it appears that they were not close to ready for the start of the regular season.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].