The Bruins rode the stellar goaltending of Tim Thomas and took advantage of power play opportunities to cruise to a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals in their home opener at TD Garden. Tim Thomas, who was virtually flawless aside from one poor clearing pass that led to Washington's lone goal, stopped 38 pucks to earn his 4th straight victory. The Bruins scored 3 of their 4 goals on the power play tonight as Michael Ryder, Nathan Horton, and Zdeno Chara all recorded power play markers. Rookie Jordan Caron added an even strength goal to round out the scoring for Boston as the B's improved to 4-1-0 on the season.
The Capitals put 13 shots on goal in the first period and tested Tim Thomas often, but the veteran netminder flipped and flopped and did everything in his power to keep the puck out of the net.
The Bruins got on the board first with just under 28 seconds left in the first period with a power play goal. With Matt Hendricks off for tripping at 18:06 of the opening period, the Bruins went on the power play against the Washington Capitals' PK unit that had not given up a goal all season. Patrice Bergeron had the puck in the slot and found a seam to get the puck to Ryder at the left post and Ryder's quick wrister beat Semyon Varlamov.Tyler Seguin also picked up a helper on the goal.
The Bruins came out firing on all cylinders to start the second period and controlled the play early in the middle period.
The B's early effort in the second period paid off quickly as Jordan Caron's 2nd NHL goal made it 2-0 2:22 in the second period (2's are wild). Patrice Bergeron had the puck below the goal line and fed a perfect backhand pass to Caron at the right circle. Matt Hunwick added a secondary assist on the goal.
The Bruins made it 3-0 with another power play goal at 12:16 of the second period. Nathan Horton's slapper from the high slot made it's way through hevay traffic in front and through Varlamov's pads for his 4th goal of the season. Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic picked up assists on the tally.
After a sparkling performance for close to 50 minutes, Tim Thomas looked human again for a fleeting moment. Thomas misplayed a puck and sent an attempted clearing pass directly to the stick of Jason Chimera, who put the puck in the empty net with ease. The gift-wrapped goal was Chimera's 2nd of the season.
With the Bruins up 3-1 in the final minute, the Capitals were whistled for too many men on the ice, giving the Bruins one final chance on the power play and the Bruins took advantage. With just under 16 second left in the game, Zdeno Chara let loose with a bomb from the top of the right circle that beat Semyon Varlamov for his first goal of the season. Blake Wheeler was puck deep in the zone along the left wing boards and was able to maintain possession of the puck and send it the left point for Johnny Boychuk, who zipped the puck across to Big Z at the right point.
- Tyler Seguin looked like a rookie when he caught the Capitals in a line change in the first period. Seguin used his speed to create an odd man rush, but whistled his shot off target.
- In a bit of a strange coaching move, Bruce Boudreau put in a cold Michal Neuvirth with 2:49 left in the game. Neuvirth had been sitting on the bench all night as has been battling the flu for the past few days. Neuvirth only remained in the game for 47 seconds before starter Semyon Varlamov was sent back to the Caps' cage to finish the game.
- The Bruins had great special teams play tonight, going 3-4 on the power play against a very stingy Capitals PK. The B's killed off all 4 of the Capitals power play opportunities.
- David Krejci's point streak ended at 4 games, while Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton continued their streaks and have now recorded a point in all 5 games this season.
- It's time for hopefully optimistic extrapolation of data: Nathan Horton is on pace for 66 goals this season.
- Tim Thomas has a 0.67 GAA and a .978 Save %.
- The Bruins registered 34 hits tonight. Michael Ryder was the only player in Black and Gold that was not created with making someone black and blue.
- Tim Thomas was making some great stops tonight, but admitted that his rebound control was not great. The goalie gave his defensemen credit for clearing the puck from danger.
- Alex Ovechkin logged 25:53 of ice time and attempted 15 shots (8 on net, 5 blocked, and 2 misses).
- The Bruins will be back in action on Saturday night when they will host a banged up New York Rangers team.
- For more on tonight's game, check out Japers' Rink