BOSTON (AP) – Nathan Horton scored his fourth goal in five games, and Tim Thomas made 38 saves as the Boston Bruins won their fourth straight game with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
Michael Ryder and rookie Jordan Caron also scored for Boston. Patrice Bergeron earned his first points of the season with a pair of assists, and Tyler Seguin, this year’s No. 2 overall draft choice, also had an assist in his first game in front of a Boston crowd.
Jason Chimera scored and Semyon Varlamov stopped 29 shots for the Capitals, who have lost two consecutive games to Boston. Michal Neuvirth played about a minute and a half in relief at the end of the game, letting in the only shot he saw.
The Bruins played in Prague, New Jersey and Washington before coming home to a sold-out crowd eager to forget last season’s unprecedented collapse in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers. The fans were also treated to a first look at Seguin, Boston’s most promising rookie since Joe Thornton.
Seguin helped make it 1-0 when he set up Ryder’s goal with 28 seconds left in the first period – one of three power-play goals against the Capitals, who hadn’t allowed any in 25 penalty-killing opportunities over their first six games this season. Bergeron’s pass from behind the net set up Caron to make it 2-0 at 2:22 of the second.
Horton added another power-play goal with 7:44 left in the middle period, putting a shot through Varlamov’s pads to make it 3-0.
Washington scored with 10:33 left when Thomas’ clearing pass was intercepted by Jason Chimera, who easily wristed it past the out-of-position goalie to make it 3-1. Zdeno Chara’s slap shot from the right circle with 15.9 seconds left made it 4-1.
It was the Bruins’ first victory in Boston since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring, when they opened a three-game lead over Philadelphia before the Flyers forced a seventh game. Boston took a 3-0 lead in Game 7 before losing the clincher, and the series, 4-3.
This time, the Bruins managed to hold onto their 3-0 lead.
And Thomas was a big reason why.
The Bruins goalie, who made the U.S. Olympic team but lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask in Boston last season, stopped Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich with tough saves in the first period. He turned away Mike Knuble with a stick save sliding across the crease in the second period. And he stopped Knuble again on a breakaway, and Ovechkin on a slapper from the point early in the third.
Rask has not played since losing the opener 5-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes on the season-opening road trip to Prague.
NOTES: Steven Tyler sang the national anthem and between periods donated a custom motorcycle for a charity auction. … The only team to start a season without giving up a power-play goal for the first seven games was the 2008-09 Minnesota Wild, who killed off 22 power plays during that span. … Horton and Milan Lucic each have a point in every game this season.
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