The Bruins entered tonight's game as the only team in the NHL not to score a goal in the first period this season, but the B's quickly changed that by netting 2 first period markers en route to a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals at Verzon Center. David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Matt Hunwick all lit the lamp for the B's, while Marcus Johansson was the lone goal scorer for the Capitals. Tim Thomas got his third straight start in goal and the veteran goaltender looked sharp once again, turning aside 35 of the 36 shots he faced.
The B's and Caps got into the nasty stuff early as Gregory Campbell and Matt Hendricks squared off in a re-match of their pre-season scrap 3:15 into the game. Both players landed a few shots, but Hendricks ultimately scored the takedown.
David Krejci gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 9:12 of the opening period. Nathan Horton and David Krejci broke in 2 on 1 thanks to the outlet passes of Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic to create the odd man rush. Horton carried the puck to the right inside hash mark before sliding a pass to Krejci at the opposite inside hash. Krejci's first goal of the season also marked the Bruins' first 1st period goal of the young season.
Milan Lucic made it 2-0 just 2:45 later. David Krejci carried the puck in along the left wing boards before pulling up and sending a pass to Johnny Boychuk at the right point. With plenty of ice to work with, Boychuck faked a shot from the point and skated to the right circle, where he fired a wrister on net. Lucic was stationed at the top of the crease and put home the rebound for his 3rd goal of the season.
Shortly after Lucic's goal, Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth skated to the bench and was replaced by Semyon Varlamov just 12:42 into the game. This was the first game action for Varlmalov after returning from an injury. The initial report was that Neuvirth was suffering from flu-like symptoms and could not continue.
The Capitals cut the Bruins lead in half just moments after the Bruins killed off a 5-on-3 power play. Marcus Johansson put the puck in the net for his first NHL goal at 7:42 of the second period after a turnover by Matt Hunwick. Matt Hunwick tried to reverse directions and coughed up the puck behind the Boston net. Jason Chimera collected the puck and fed it out front for Johansson. Matt Hendricks also picked up a phantom assist on the goal, but I would score it Johansson from Chimera and Hunwick.
The B's made it 3-1 2:08 into the third period on an off-speed shot by Matt Hunwick from the high slot with heavy traffic in front of Semyon Varlamov. Dennis Seidenberg and Blake Wheeler picked up assists on Hunwick's first tally of the season.
With 10:37 left in the third period, Milan Lucic and John Erskine shed the gloves and swapped fists. Both fighters came out swinging before tying each other up briefly. Lucic then worked his way free and both fighters continued to swing before Lucic wrestled Erskine to the ice. The bout completed the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" for Looch.
The Caps appeared to pull within one midway through the third period when Alex Ovechkin batted a puck down a puck with his hand that made it's way past Tim Thomas midway through the third period, but he "goal" was quickly and correclty waved off by the referee due to Ovechkin's illegal hand slap.
After the 3-1 win, the Bruins will head back to Boston for their home opener against these very same Washington Capitals on Thursday night at TD Garden
- Nathan Horton continues his point streak. #18 has recorded at least a point in all four games this season.
- David Krejci recorded his second multii-point game of the season.
- According to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, the view from the press box at Verizon Center was not too bad tonight:
A little mini-drama at the Verizon Center press box between the first and second periods as an extroverted young lady decided to flash her wares through a window into the press box dining area. It appeared she was escorted away from her section after the press box steward’s fragile sensibilities were compromised, but she eventually returned to her rightful seat. No harm, no foul apparently.
Note: Haggs claims that there are no photos of the incident.
- Matt Hunwick partially made up for his sloppy play in his own zone was his first goal of the season. Hopefully, the goal will help give the young defenseman some more confidence on the ice.
- The Capitals have not allowed a power play goal this season and have kill off all 25 penalties.
- The Bruins are the first team to hold Alex Ovechkin point-less this season.
- The win is the Bruins' first regulation win at Verizon Center since January 23, 2006 when the Bruins beat the Capitals 3-2. The B's were led by Wayne Primeau (2 goals). There were a few similarities between the two games: Tim Thomas got the win and Alex Ovechkin did not record a point.
- In an out of character performance, Patrice Bergeron struggled at the dot tonight. The centerman won just 4 of the 18 draws that he took (22%). As a team the Bruins won 27 of 55 faceoffs tonight (49%).
- For more on tonight's game from DC, head over to Japers' Rink