David Pastrnak bolted out to the league scoring lead with a objective and 3 assists. Fellow Czech David Krejci, his repatriated NHL middle to have and to dangle this season, additionally potted one and helped on two extra.
In internet, Linus Ullmark grew to become away 33 of 35 pictures on objective, on an evening when the Capitals outshot the Bruins through some 30 %, 66-51.
Oh, and for the fourth time in his profession, and the primary time since 2009, captain Patrice Bergeron put his identify at the membership’s first objective of the brand-spankin’-new season. A power-play strike for the 1-0 lead. With assist from — who else? — Pastrnak.
So, a really perfect get started, proper?
Wrong, Zamboni zealots.
Every win has its good looks, in fact, but Game 1 confirmed the Bruins are nonetheless adjusting to new trainer Jim Montgomery’s X’s and O’s, and extra to the purpose, his general philosophy.
Montgomery, the ex-UMaine offensive standout, preaches an up-tempo recreation and has empowered all and sundry to take possibilities when it comes to growing offense. For Mike Reilly, that supposed two times getting just a little overzealous around the offensive blue line, which two times left his protection spouse, Connor Clifton, a back-skating piñata.
The 2d time, Reilly used to be in the proper position, making an attempt to do the proper factor, handiest to see the Capitals deflect a Pastrnak shot try and barrel down the ice to lower the Bruins lead to 3-2. Neither Clifton nor Ullmark had an opportunity of denying Conor Sheary the strike that closed the space to a objective.
But right here’s the item: Even even though the play blew up like Wile E. Coyote lighting fixtures a fit to to find the fuel leak within the oven, Montgomery used to be OK with it. Nothing supplies a trainer fairness within the dressing room greater than appearing tolerance, particularly when the miscue is a made from the loopy, whimsical, serendipitous bounces of the puck.
“Pasta has the puck in the slot,” recounted Montgomery, “and because the defenseman [Reilly] goes back door, he’s wide open. We’re going to take that every time. It’s a blocked shot that goes the other way. That’s hockey.”
Montgomery famous Thursday morning that this stuff take time. Training camp used to be brief, just a little greater than two weeks, and it can take weeks, even months, for issues to jell. Even coaches who’ve been with a group, say, 3-4 years, could have a difficult time getting everybody at the similar web page if there’s a average quantity of roster turnover in the summertime.
For essentially the most phase, Montgomery has fee of a number accustomed to each and every different. A.J. Greer and Jakub Lauko had been new to the combo, but general it’s an skilled Black-and-Gold bunch, a few of whom had been at the task lengthy sufficient that they had been directed through each Claude Julien and Bruce Cassidy, Montgomery’s predecessors.
Asked if he felt his X’s and O’s had been totally understood through his group, Montgomery mentioned, “No, not a chance.And it doesn’t matter. You want guys to play with creativity, you want them to play on their toes and not be afraid of making mistakes.
“We’ll get there on the X’s and O’s. Right now, it’s about playing with effort and emotion more than it is about execution in these first couple weeks.”
Krejci, who took a year’s spacer and played the 2021-22 season back in Czechia, looked to be having fun with his 1-2—3 night. His goal, for the 4-2 lead with 3:43 remaining, was the clincher. He popped in a doorstep rebound off one of the six shots Pastrnak landed.
Krejci sure looked happy as he celebrated with his teammates.
“Sometimes I have fun, sometimes I don’t,” said Krejci, noting he also was out there for the two goals the Capitals scored. “In the second period, I am backchecking twice and they score goals — that wasn’t fun. When the puck’s on my tape and I am making plays, it’s fun.”
Pastrnak, who’ll surely be smiling when he finally inks his new deal, somewhere in the $11-million-a-year stratosphere, was his old self. He fired nine times, landing six on Darcy Kuemper, and logged 19:03 in ice time, 3:31 on the power play (tops on the team).
The only deviation in the standard “Pasta” performance was his shooting choices. Most, perhaps all, of his shots were of the snap/wrist variety. Even on the power play, he was not parked in his office, the left circle, ripping into one-timers off feeds from Bergeron or Krejci.
“I know, I was thinking about the same thing,” said Pastrnak. “I don’t know what that was about — nothing planned. I think we tried a couple of new plays on the power play — it’s early, you know? — so I was a little bit moving around more. And obviously, five-on-five, you don’t have the time for one-timers or slapshots.”
Without two of his key players, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy, until around Thanksgiving, Montgomery has been preaching a possession game. He figures possession, combined with speed, will help keep play in the offensive end.
A key in possession is faceoff success. In Game 1, the Bruins owned nearly a 2-1 advantage in the circle, winning 63 percent of draws. Bergeron again was at his thieving best, winning 15 of 22 drops, and No. 3 center Charlie Coyle owned 8 of 9. Faceoffs aren’t really X’s and O’s, but winning them often aids in the execution of X’s and O’s.
On Saturday, the Coyotes will be in town for the home opener on Causeway Street. Depending on Jake DeBrusk’s status (a jammed right hand that kept him out of the third period), Montgomery most likely will come back with his same lineup.
The new coach left here with the game puck in his pocket, handed to him by Bergeron. An appropriate gesture by the captain, and a measure of how the team feels about its new coach.
Montgomery showed on the first night that he’s willing to give his guys some rope, and they returned the favor with a chunk of vulcanized rubber. It looks as if it will be fun to see what the give and take is for the next 81 games … and maybe more.
Kevin Paul Dupont may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.