By Neil Kavanaugh
With experts saying that the Washington Capitals would fall victim to the legendary Stanley Cup hangover (some say Alexander Ovechkin is still hungover), it was predicted the team would regress this season. Skeptics claimed the off season loss of Head Coach Barry Trotz was a sign of the implosion the Capitals faced in the future. The summer for the Caps was shadowed with murmurs from the rest of the league about how they were a fluke. However, after the season opener, all those voices were silenced.
The Washington Capitals did something out of the norm for their home opener against the Boston Bruins. The team raised its 2018 Stanley Cup Champions banner for the first time in 43 years to the song “We Are The Champions” by Queen to a sold out crowd at Capital One Arena. The ceremony included their captain, Ovechkin, kissing the Cup one final time before placing it on the pedestal for the next champions to raise it. The crowd was standing on their feet, roaring in support of the heroes that have finally brought home the title after so many disappointing losses at the hands of those pesky Pittsburgh Penguins. Tom Wilson, who is serving a 20 game suspension, made an appearance in the ceremony fully dressed in his gear.
The first period was a shootout for the Capitals. T.J. Oshie, number 77 for the Capitals, scored just 24 seconds into the first period off a shot from the corner. Evgeny Kuznetsov followed up with a power play goal just 83 seconds later, making it 2-0 Capitals just 1:47 into the game, and the fans were on their feet shouting in approval. The Capitals held the lead throughout the first period, holding the Bruins to just nine shots.
The second period was when Washington really came out to play. They scored four goals on the Bruins, started by Alexander Ovechkin on the power play 4:17 into the period. Nic Dowd followed suit with another less than two minutes later, and Kuznetsov had another power play goal to make it 5-0 Capitals less than halfway thru the game. John Carlson added to the score on the Washington power play to bring the total up to 6-0.
The Capitals coasted through the third period scoring one goal halfway through to take the game 7-0. Goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots to get his first shutout of the season, cementing the fact that the Capitals have no hangover.
The team went to the center of the ice and raised their sticks in unison of approval to the support of their fans who never gave up on them. The Washington Capitals faced much adversary over this summer from people all around the NHL saying that they were not good enough of a team to defend their title, but the team put all that talk to rest in their very first game back.
The Capitals sit on the top of the Metropolitan Division and are now heavy favorites to win the Cup again.