WASHINGTON (AP)—Glen Hanlon’s first game as an NHL head coach was as memorable as it was successful: 11 goals by 11 players and a victory that stopped a three-game losing streak.
“Tonight was all about emotion and trying to get the guys to ride that,” Hanlon said. “They did a good job. It was fun.”
Goals from usual stars Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra and Dainius Zubrus were supplemented by rare scores from Matt Pettinger, Bates Battaglia and Jeff Halpern, making for a scoring diversity that was missing under fired coach Bruce Cassidy.
Cassidy was dismissed Wednesday, 28 games into his second season—with the Capitals at the bottom of the standings. Poor play and discord in the locker room led general manager George McPhee to replace Cassidy with assistant coach Hanlon.
“The first 28 games were pretty rough, and unfortunately, the coach is the one who takes the ax for it,” goaltender Olaf Kolzig said. “Now, as players, the pressure is on us, and for the most part we responded pretty well.”
Mike Knuble, Dan McGillis, Martin Lapointe, Ted Donato and Travis Green scored for the Bruins, who tied their last three games and were playing their third game in four nights. An early 1-0 lead was wasted when back-to-back penalties led to a five-on-three goal for Bondra and a five-on-four for Jagr.
“Our lack of discipline in the penalty category cost us,” coach Mike Sullivan said.
Sullivan replaced Potvin just 6:37 in after three goals on consecutive shots and replaced him with Andrew Raycroft.
“I thought Felix had a couple of bad breaks,” Sullivan said. “I don’t know if there was much he could do on any of the goals. It was more of a case of trying to inspire our team to respond.”
Meanwhile, the Capitals were thriving on the changes made by Hanlon. Bondra was used in a more defensive role, Halpern was more involved overall after his recent benching, and Zubrus’ workhorse effort throughout was rewarded with a successful penalty shot. Battaglia scored his first goal since March 20, ending a 28-game scoreless streak.
“A lot of things they did were their own natural skills in a hockey sense,” Hanlon said. “And maybe we should leave it like that.”
Hanlon had to survive a wild finish, with four goals in the final six minutes. Halpern made it a three-goal lead into an empty net—though the Bruins felt the puck should have been whistled dead for icing—before Donato and Green scored in the final 1:02.
“We’ll take a win,” Hanlon said. “People complain about lack of scoring,but you can’t complain about that tonight.”
The 11 goals were the most scored in a Capitals game this season. … In 19 of their first 28 games, Washington failed to score three goals in a game. … Two players made their NHL debuts, and they got into a fight. Washington’s Dwayne Zinger and Boston’s Doug Doull, both recent call-ups from the AHL, flailed at one other and got five-minute fighting penalties in the second period. … The Capitals’ last successful penalty shot was Joe Sacco onMarch 30, 2001. … Jagr collected his 750th career assist.