The Boston Bruins opened the 2022-23 NHL season with an offensive onslaught against the Washington Capitals.
After jumping out to a 3-0 lead, the Bruins held on for a 5-2 victory at Capital One Arena led by David Krejci, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. Linus Ullmark played fantastic in net with 33 saves. Boston's special teams also impressed as the power play scored once on three opportunities and the penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4.
The Bruins will travel back to Boston for Saturday night's home opener versus the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden. But before we look ahead to that game, here are three takeaways from the Bruins' first win of the campaign.
1) David Krejci is still pretty good
If there was any doubt that Krejci can still play at a high level against NHL competition, it was put to bed Wednesday night.
Krejci had a phenomenal return to the Bruins, tallying three points (one goal, two assists) in 17:53 of ice time. He assisted on Bergeron's opening goal and Pastrnak's 360-spin goal in the first period.
The veteran center secured Boston's victory by following up a Pastrnak breakaway in the third period and burying the rebound attempt. It was Krejci's first goal for the B's in 531 days (April 29, 2021).
Boston's second line of Krejci, Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha totaled 12 shot attempts, four shots on net, eight scoring chances, four high-danger chances and one goal during its 11:04 of 5-on-5 ice time. It's safe to say this trio is going to be a real handful for opposing defensemen, especially with Krejci's elite playmaking ability as the engine driving it.
2) David Pastrnak getting more expensive to sign?
The Bruins better sign Pastrnak to an extension ASAP, because with each game the cost to do so might get a little bit higher.
Report: Bruins willing to make strong financial commitment to Pastrnak
The 26-year-old right winger opened the season with a four-point night (one goal, three assists) and a team-leading six shots in 19:03 of ice time.
After picking up the primary helper on Bergeron's goal, Pastrnak scored one of his own with a skillful spin move that seemed to catch Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper off-guard.
The Bruins took a 3-0 lead in the second period when Pastrnak completed a beautiful passing sequence with a slick feed to Taylor Hall.
The Bruins have taken extension talks with Pastrnak's camp into the regular season and, based on public comments in recent weeks, neither side is worried by that. The B's have made it clear they want Pastrnak in the fold for a long time, and the superstar forward said Monday at Media Day that he's "confident" a deal will get worked out.
But the longer it takes for the Bruins to finalize an extension, the more expensive it could get for them. Pastrnak is poised to have a career year, especially with Krejci as his center.
3) Ullmark shut the door when B's needed it most
In a somewhat surprising decision, Linus Ullmark got the start over Jeremy Swayman, and the Swedish goalie rewarded head coach Jim Montgomery's confidence in him.
Ullmark gave a stellar performance, stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced for a .943 save percentage.
He made 13 stops in the third period, and most of those saves came when Boston had just a one-goal lead. His best save of the game happened in the third period when he stopped Capitals center Lars Eller during a 2-on-1 shorthanded scoring chance.
Goaltending needs to be a huge strength for the Bruins while the blue line is missing Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk due to injuries. The Bruins gave up too many odd-man rushes and quality scoring chances to the Capitals, but Ullmark made up for those mistakes with a bunch of clutch saves.
It was exactly the type of performance you'd want to see from Ullmark after how last season ended for him.