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4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT, October 3, 2018
Capital One Arena, Washington, District of Columbia  Attendance: 18,506

Capitals start title defense against Bruins

Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals

  1. The Bruins finished last season at 50-20-12, one point behind the Lightning for the Atlantic Division title. It marked the 10th 50-win campaign in Bruins history; no franchise in the NHL has more such seasons.
  2. The Capitals went 49-26-7 last season, winning the Metropolitan Division en route to their first Stanley Cup. Since the 2000-01 season, the Caps have claimed nine division titles, tied with the Red Wings for the most in that span.
  3. Washington has taken 12 straight meetings with the Bruins. That's tied for the longest active win streak against a single opponent in the NHL and tied for the longest in Caps history; from December 2007 to December 2009, the Caps beat the Lightning in 12 straight meetings.
  4. Alex Ovechkin finished last season with 87 points, his most since recording 109 points in 2009-10. The veteran winger has scored 30 or more goals in each of his 13 seasons in the NHL, including 49 last season. That streak is tied for the third-longest streak all-time; only Jaromir Jagr (1991-92 to 2006-07) and Mike Gartner (1979-80 to 1993-94) have had longer streaks (15 seasons each).
  5. Much of the Caps' success against the Bruins has come on the shoulders of Braden Holtby, who is 14-2-0 versus Boston with three shutouts, a 1.96 GAA and a .940 save percentage. He's won 10 straight starts against the Bruins, three better than any win streak he's ever had against any opponent.
  6. Brad Marchand tallied 34 goals and 51 assists over 68 games last season to become the first Bruin since Joe Thornton in 2002-03 to notch 30+ goals and 50+ helpers in a season. Marchand recorded 27 multi-point games, tied for fourth-most in the NHL.

WASHINGTON -- After years of carrying the weight of unfulfilled expectations on their shoulders, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals traded it in for the weight of the actual Stanley Cup, which they paraded around the Las Vegas ice after a 4-3 win in Game 5 of the finals in June.

On Wednesday night, the Capitals will raise a banner to the Capital One Arena rafters and begin their title defense against the Boston Bruins.

While their roster is mostly unchanged, new coach Todd Reirden will make his debut. After four years as Barry Trotz's top assistant, Reirden ascended when Trotz stepped down and ultimately took the New York Islanders' top job.

Ovechkin, who recently turned 33, scored 87 points (49 goals) in the regular season and added 27 points (15 goals) in 24 postseason games as he finally put to rest questions about his ability to lead a team to the Cup.

"It looks like he's in the best mode ever," center Nicklas Backstrom told the Washington Post. "He's just laughing all the time, which is great. He's going to carry this over, I think."

Washington will likely open without top-line winger Tom Wilson, who was ejected from Sunday's preseason finale against the St. Louis Blues for an illegal check on Oskar Sundqvist, who lay motionless before being helped from the ice. Wilson was slated for an in-person hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Wednesday.

Wilson's absence combined with several injuries led the Capitals to claim forward Dmitrij Jaskin off waivers from the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Jaskin, 25, totaled six goals and 11 assists in 76 games last season.

"We like the player," general manager Brian MacLellan told the Washington Post. "We think the player has some upside and with the possible suspension of Tom we're adding a big body that can make some plays and go to the net and has a similar skill set as Tom."

Washington has won 12 straight regular-season games in four seasons against Boston.

After starting 6-7-4 last season, the Bruins soared to a 50-20-12 record, good for second place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. They defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round but fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Bruins' success was a bit ahead of schedule as they boast one of the youngest rosters in the league.

Boston will be missing a key player in the opener as well. Defenseman Torey Krug injured his left ankle in the final preseason game. He's in a walking boot and will be evaluated in three weeks. Krug had 59 points (14 goals, 45 assists) in 76 games last season.

"It's a big loss," center Patrice Bergeron told the Boston Herald. "He's a huge part of our defense, power play as well. He's the quarterback up there. We're going to miss him. That being said, it's an opportunity for someone else to step up and be good for us."

Updated October 2, 2018

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