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Washington Capitals Open With 4-1 Victory Over Boston Bruins

Brooks Laich, who had scored the Capitals' first goal of the season in the first period, rejoices after his second power-play goal, which pushed the lead to 3-0.
Brooks Laich, who had scored the Capitals' first goal of the season in the first period, rejoices after his second power-play goal, which pushed the lead to 3-0. (By Elsa -- Getty Images)
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By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 2, 2009

BOSTON, Oct. 1 -- José Theodore waited more than five months for the chance to redeem himself after his shaky performance in the playoff opener last April.

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On Thursday in the Washington Capitals' season opener at TD Garden, the veteran goaltender made up for lost time. Theodore made 19 saves, including 10 during a frantic first period, and Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich supplied the offense to lead the Capitals to a 4-1 victory over the powerful Boston Bruins.

"Let's just say I was anxious to get back on the ice," Theodore said. "I was ready in the preseason, solid, really focused. They had a couple of shots early, and I was seeing the puck well and making a lot of saves comfortably by being in good position."

Ovechkin and Laich scored two goals apiece, but it was Theodore's play early that kept the Capitals in the game.

"The power play was good, but José Theodore, I thought, was excellent tonight," Laich said. "We are so happy for him. He played so well. In the first 10 minutes, he held us in there and was a key to victory tonight."

Laich's two power-play goals highlighted an all-around impressive performance by Washington's special teams. The power play finished 2 for 4 and the Tom Poti-led penalty kill went 5 for 5 to help the Capitals claim their first regulation victory in Boston in 15 games, a stretch of futility that dated from December 2000.

"If you could bottle that game up, we would take it every time," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We weathered the first six minutes because we knew they were going to come out [strong]. After that, we played really, really well."

The Bruins went down quietly, mustering only three shots on goal in the third period.

The season couldn't have gotten off to a better start for Theodore, who was pulled in his debut as a Capital in Atlanta a year ago, a loss that foreshadowed an inconsistent regular season and disastrous start to the playoffs. Theodore was replaced after Game 1 of the postseason, a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers. He didn't get a second chance.

"I'm really happy for José because he's been a much-maligned goaltender," Boudreau said. "When our defense is playing as well as it did and forwards are coming back as well as they did, and he made the saves at the right time, boy, it looks easy."

Defenseman Brian Pothier added: "The one thing that other people can't see is that he was communicating phenomenally [with the defense]. That lets me know he's locked into the game, he's looking, he's aware. That's what we need, is for him to keep us in the game early."

The Capitals' first line was just as impressive as Theodore.


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