WASHINGTON (AP) — David Pastrnak had a goal and three assists, captain Patrice Bergeron scored and the Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Pastrnak assisted on Bergeron’s goal on a power play with the initial shot that turned into a juicy rebound and set up Taylor Hall with a perfect pass into the middle of the ice to put Boston up 3-0. Washington scored twice before Pastrnak took the shot that turned into David Krejci’s sealing goal with 3:43 left.
Krejci also had two assists in his return to the NHL after playing last season in his native Czech Republic and participating in the Olympics. Him coming back to North America coincided with Bergeron returning for a 19th season, which he got off to a nice start by scoring his 401st career goal.
Jim Montgomery won his Bruins coaching debut, his first game behind the bench as an NHL head coach since Dec. 7, 2019, with the Dallas Stars, who fired him for unprofessional conduct. He sought and received help for alcohol abuse, spent time as an assistant in St. Louis and is getting another chance with Boston.
Montgomery inherited the job from Bruce Cassidy knowing he’d be injured without winger Brad Marchand and No. 1 defenseman Charlie McAvoy for a significant period of time at the start of the season. After his team’s morning skate, Montgomery said he wanted the Bruins “to show what we do have, not what we don’t have, to start the season.”
Mission accomplished in Game 1 of 82, at least. Linus Ullmark, who figures to rotate starts with Jeremy Swayman in net for Boston, made 33 saves, including a flashy grab with his glove to rob Evgeny Kuznetsov early in the third period.
Darcy Kuemper struggled a bit in his Capitals debut less than three months since backstopping the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup. Kuemper allowed four goals on 29 shots, giving up a big rebound to Bergeron and getting beat five-hole along the ice by Pastrnak, Boston’s top winger who’s in a contract year and already on pace for a major payday.
Anthony Mantha and Conor Sheary scored for Washington, which went 0 for 4 on the power play. Captain Alex Ovechkin, the active leader in goals in season openers, had three shots on net but was held off the score sheet.
NOTES: Hampus Lindholm scored an empty-netter with 1:05 left. … Czech F Jakub Lauko made his NHL debut for the Bruins wearing No. 94. It’s the highest number a player has worn in the nearly-100 year history of the Original Six franchise. … Boston signed veteran defenseman Anton Stralman to a $1 million contract for the season. The 36-year-old Swede, who earned a job after attending training camp on a professional tryout, will be eligible to play when his work visa is settled.
Bruins: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night in their home opener.
Capitals: Visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night in the second half of a back to back for each team.