In a game that included 21 penalties, the Capitals scored three
power-play goals -- including twice on 5-on-3s. It was during a
two-man advantage that Lang poked in the winning goal with 1:04
remaining to give Washington a 5-4 opening-night victory Friday
over the Nashville Predators.
"There were a lot of power plays and a lot of penalty
killing,'' said Jagr, who had one goal and two assists. "Guys who
don't play on the power play or penalty killing got about two
shifts during the game. It's going to be tough for those guys.''
It was definitely tough on the Predators, who had three 5-on-3
deficits in the game. The league's crackdown on penalties made for
a wild game that included five goals in the third period.
"You can't get any flow to the game when there's that many
penalties,'' Nashville left wing Scott Hartnell said. "A lot of
cheap stuff was called, suspect penalties.
"With all the new rules and stuff, you figure the refs would be
at the top of their game, ready to go. But all those things happen.
I don't know how many penalties there were, but it's a joke. Half
the game is played with the power play. It's not fun.''
Bondra had two goals and an assist, including a goal that the
ricocheted off the boards and hit goaltender Mike Dunham in the
back before going in.
Lang is one of 10 new faces from opening day a year ago for the
younger, faster and healthier Capitals, who also hired 37-year-old
Bruce Cassidy from the minors as their new coach. Another newcomer,
Kip Miller, had one of his three assists on Lang's winning goal.
Cassidy tried to play it cool after the game, saying the import
of his first NHL victory hadn't sunk in it. Lang claimed otherwise.
"He was really excited. He was jumping up and down,'' Lang
said. "Who wouldn't? I was, too.''
Nashville was called for 11 penalties, Washington for 10.
"You've got to be disciplined,'' Predators coach Barry Trotz
said. "The first 5-on-3, we were taking a penalty and (Scott)
Hartnell goes and punches someone. That's self-discipline right
here. That was a turning point.''
Bondra scored his first goal during that two-man advantage, but
the Predators also killed a 59-second stretch of 5-on-3 in the
third period. The Capitals later did the same for 56 seconds.
But the Capitals got one more chance at the two-man advantage
when Clarke Wilm was called for obstruction and Cale Hulse for
tripping Jagr 22 seconds apart. The Capitals had several chances
before Lang knocked in the loose puck from the left side for the
By the time the last power play was over, both teams had a
renewed sense of how the game might be different this season.
"Teaching old dogs new tricks is never easy, but that's just
the way it's got to be,'' Cassidy said. "Players will adjust.''
With three points, Bondra needs 53 to become the
franchise's all-time leader. ... Jagr is 29 goals from 500. ...
Cassidy became the fifth of 12 Capitals coaches to win his first
game with the franchise. Red Sullivan (1974), Danny Belisle (1978),
Terry Murray (1989) and Ron Wilson (1997) were the others. ... The
first-round draft picks of both clubs made the opening day roster.
Washington's Steve Eminger (No. 12 overall) played Friday;
Nashville's Scottie Upshall (No. 6) was a healthy scratch.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Verizon Center Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Referees: Don Koharski, Scott Zelkin Linesmen: Pat Dapuzzo, Derek Nansen
Attendance: 17,101 (93.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Andy Delmore (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Vladimir Orszagh, Denis Arkhipov
Jaromir Jagr (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Peter Bondra, Kip Miller
Vladimir Orszagh (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Denis Arkhipov, Martin Erat
Peter Bondra (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Robert Lang, Jaromir Jagr
Peter Bondra (2)
Assist: Kip Miller
David Legwand (1)
Assists: Karlis Skrastins, Greg Johnson
Stephen Peat (1)
Assist: Glen Metropolit
Greg Johnson (1)
Assists: Denis Pederson, Cale Hulse
Robert Lang (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Kip Miller, Jaromir Jagr