Capitals humiliate Bruins to begin title defense

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With the way they celebrated, you’d expect the Washington Capitals to suffer an all-time brutal Stanley Cup “hangover.” Instead, they extended the honeymoon with a 7-0 romp of the Boston Bruins to open the 2018-19 season.

That score might have actually been kind to the Bruins, who really had no answer for the Capitals’ speed, skill, and energy.

The defending champions made quite the impression as Todd Reirden debuted as head coach.

[Capitals ready to defend Stanley Cup.]

Washington came storming out of the gate in this one, with T.J. Oshie scoring 24 seconds in, and Evgeny Kuznetsov making it 2-0 less than two minutes into the contest. Tuukka Rask‘s night ended early after allowing five goals, with the lowest point coming during a stretch of three goals allowed on three shots.

You really can’t pin this all on Rask, even if Wednesday night brought back memories of his more embattled moments with Boston last season.

Speaking of bringing back memories, perhaps it was fitting to see Jaroslav Halak replace Rask in net, as Halak authored one of Washington’s most frustrating playoff losses of the Alex Ovechkin era. Halak had little power to deny the Capitals tonight, as Washington dominated virtually every facet of the season-opener.

Plenty of Capitals players came up big on what was already a special, banner-raising night.

[Check out the Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony.]

Kuznetsov came close to collecting a hat trick, instead settling for two goals. Nicklas Backstrom generated three assists, pushing past the 800-point mark for his career (he’s now at 802). Both Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson enjoyed one-goal, one-assist nights … and each player scored from “Ovechkin’s office.”

The Bruins face the sobering reality that they have a lot of things to clean up, as they can’t simply blame this on a rough night for Rask. On the bright side, they won’t face a Capitals power play that went 4-for-6 every night.

It’s dangerous to put too much weight into any single game of the regular season, as tempted as it might be with hockey back upon us. As it turns out, it’s also dangerous to count out the Capitals as they begin their pursuit of “back-to-back” Stanley Cup titles.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.