If you're a Capitals fan, it's hard not be excited about tonight's game. After all, seeing your team win the season opener is good, seeing them do it on the road is even better, and beating last year's regular-season Conference champs better still. But what's really exciting isn't just that the team won but how they won.
For the most part the frustrations of last season were absent from tonight's game. The team did take a couple of unnecessary penalties, sure. But they also put pucks home by digging in front of the net, held themselves in check when they could have been tempted to retaliate to the Bruins' antagonistic efforts, came out of every penalty kill unscathed, kept their shift lengths reasonable, and made it through the whole game without having a giveaway credited to them. That, not the scoreboard, is the truly encouraging part.
No matter what the result of tonight's game we would all still know the Capitals are an extraordinarily talented team capable of beating anyone on any given night. What we've seen now is that they look committed to doing what it takes to beat anyone on every given night.
Ten more thoughts on tonight's game:
- The Capitals allowed three shots - three - in the third period.
- Going in to the game I wouldn't have had Brooks Laich on the first powerplay unit. Oops.
- Here's hoping John Erskine uses his hands to play the puck, not hold his man's stick, next time. And that when Milan Jurcina takes his next restraining foul penalty it's not right after a Capitals goal.
- If Quintin Laing were ten percent faster, he'd have played a lot more than forty-three NHL games.
- Shaone Morrisonn had a very solid game. Looks like his early-season struggles may have been a one year thing.
- Was the goaltender interference call on Alex Ovechkin weak? Maybe. But I'm glad it was called. As a Caps fan I rather have the referees take control of that situation than let a bunch of cranky Bruins go after him.
- Good on Brian Pothier for not only coming back to Boston and playing well but for laying out one of the night's best hits.
- Not David Steckel's best game - whiffed on a goal early, coughed up the puck on the Bergeron goal. Nice work on the dot, though.
- Speaking of faceoffs, the team won 70% of its shorthanded draws.
- The Capitals were outplayed physically: the Bruins out-hit them 32-24 and scored most of the harder hits. Yet the Capitals weathered the storm and were better at actually, you know, scoring and preventing goals. I'm not sure if that's an argument for or against Jeff Schultz.
We couldn't have asked for a better road opener. Let's hope we can say the same about the home opener come Saturday.