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Takeaways: Capitals Come Up Short, Fall To Bruins In Lackluster Opener

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Washington Capitals Darcy Kuemper

WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals season opener didn’t exactly go according to plan.

Washington was able to rally from a 3-0 deficit and get back in the game and pull within one. However, the Boston Bruins, thanks to David Pastrnak and David Krejci, were able to stop the rally and secure a 5-2 win.

”It sucks. Obviously, we play hockey to win,” Mantha said. “We’re all competitors in here. We wanted to get it done for our fans.”

Here are all the takeaways from the defeat.

Boston Bruins Pounce On Washington Capitals Early As Darcy Kuemper Gets Off To Rocky Start

For the first few minutes of regulation, Washington looked dominant. They were hard on pucks, generating pressure and seeing a few changes. However, an Evgeny Kuznetsov penalty roughly seven minutes into the opening frame turned the tide.

Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring on the power play, picking up his first of the season on a rebound off a David Pastrnak shot. Shortly after, Pastrnak would add a goal of his own on a spin-around shot to make it 2-0.

Then, to open the second period, a missed defensive assignment and poor coverage on the rush led to a Taylor Hall goal to give Boston a 3-0 lead.

It didn’t mark the best start for Darcy Kuemper, who made his Capitals debut on Wednesday in what was also his 300th NHL game. There were quite a few juicy rebounds up for grabs, and he was a little shaky as he ended up surrendering three goals on the first 21 shots he faced (.826 save percentage). However, he did come up with some big stops and also stoning Brandon Carlo on a breakaway opportunity and one on Pastrnak later, though that ended in a Krejci goal.

Despite Kuemper’s stat line for his D.C. debut, the defense wasn’t too much help, either, as missed assignments and miscommunications led to the loss.

Mantha, Sheary Inject Life Into Washington Capitals, But Krejci & Pastrnak End Comeback

The second period didn’t start off any better for Washington, as a missed assignment on defense and poor coverage on a Boston rush led to a Taylor Hall goal that put the Capitals down 3-0. However, Anthony Mantha, Conor Sheary and some new and familiar faces would put Washington right back in it going into the third.

Anthony Mantha opened the scoring shortly after Hall’s goal on a great pass from Dylan Strome, who held onto the puck and pulled off a toe-and-drag before getting it to No. 39. Erik Gustafsson recorded the secondary helper on Mantha’s goal.

Then, later in the second, Conor Sheary blocked a shot, which led to a 3-on-1 rush for D.C. the other way. Nic Dowd got the puck over to Sheary, who called his own number and net his first of the season to pull Washington to 3-2.

Despite a huge fight from Washington in the third, which saw the team outshoot Boston 10-6, Pastrnak and Krejci weren’t done for the night. Pastrnak went on a breakaway and Kuemper made a huge stop, but no one was back to help out with stopping Krejci, who roofed the rebound.

Washington Capitals Power Play Comes Up Empty

The Capitals have a bit of a new look on their power play to open the season, with Nicklas Backstrom on LTIR and Tom Wilson also injured. However, despite the new additions and some tweaks, the man advantage was lackluster, as it had been often last season.

Passes didn’t connect, shots didn’t make it on net and the team struggled with puck possession or winning those battles. Ultimately, there wasn’t much pressure and Washington ultimately went 0-for-4 on the PP while only recording six shots through four power-play opportunities.

Washington Capitals Ice Chips

  • Mantha led all skaters with six shots on goal. Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov were tied for second with five apiece.
  • Washington went 2-for 3 on the PK.
  • Martin Fehervary led the Capitals with 10 hits. Ovechkin had nine.
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