NHL Game Summary - Washington at Boston
(Thursday, October 1st)
Final Score: Washington 4, Boston 1
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin got a good start to the season as he had two goals and an assist to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins in the season-opener at TD Garden.
Ovechkin won his second consecutive Hart Award as the MVP last season and his 56 goals were tops in the league. He finished the 2008-09 season with 110 points and was just three behind Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for the Art Ross.
Brooks Laich scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom had three assists and Alexander Semin added two helpers for the Capitals, who won the Southeast Division for the second straight season in 2008-09, but fell to the Cup-champion Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Jose Theodore gave up just one goal on 20 shots in the win.
"We played a simple game and used our chances, we deserved a win tonight," Ovechkin said.
Patrice Bergeron had the lone goal for the Bruins, who won the Northeast Division last season and finished just one point behind the San Jose Sharks for the best record in the NHL, but lost in seven games to Carolina in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Tim Thomas, last season's Vezina Trophy winner as the league's best goaltender, gave up four goals on 34 shots in the loss.
"You have to be focused for 60 minutes in this game and we weren't," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "We had a lot of good players who weren't very good tonight."
Each team had a power play after the first 10 minutes of the game, but were unable to capitalize.
However, with Michael Ryder serving a team minor for too many men on the ice, Washington scored the first goal of the NHL season.
Ovechkin had control of the puck along the left boards and fired a hard pass across the ice where Backstrom immediately redirected it to the low left side of the net for Laich, who snapped it home for a 1-0 lead with 2:45 to play in the first.
Theodore made 10 saves in the first period to keep Washington off the board.
The Capitals increased their lead in the second period thanks to a Bruins miscue. Backstrom brought the puck into the zone as the Bruins were conducting a line change and from the left point fired the puck into the high slot for Semin, who dropped the puck to Ovechkin and the All-Star fired a wrister past Thomas.
The Caps scored twice less than two minutes into the third period to take control of the game.
Just 16 seconds in, Washington made it a 3-0 game as Ovechkin banked the puck off the backboards from the top of the left circle to the right side where it was shoveled out front and eventually slammed home by Laich.
Mere moments later, Tom Poti skated the puck to the low right side and sent the puck out front for Ovechkin, who muscled past his defender and swept the puck into the net for a 4-0 lead.
Boston broke Theodore's shutout bid while skating shorthanded as Bergeron skated in on a breakaway, went forehand to backhand and stuffed his second shot into the net with 12:04 to play.
Boston hosts Carolina on Saturday...Washington has its home opener on Saturday against Toronto...Washington took three of the four games against Boston last season, with the only loss coming in overtime...Washington went 2-for-4 on the power play while the Bruins failed to score on any of their five chances.
10/01 23:00:43 ET