Caps roll 8-1 in Chara's 1st game in front of Bruins fans

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BOSTON — T.J. Oshie scored one of his two goals in Washington's three-goal first-period and former Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara played his first game in front of Boston’s fans in the Capitals’ 8-1 victory Sunday night.

Conor Sheary and Lars Eller each also scored twice, and Tom Wilson and Nic Dowd each had one of the season-high goals scored by the Capitals in their first victory in regulation against Boston this season. The Bruins had gotten at least a point in the clubs’ five previous meetings (3-0-2).

Rookie Vitek Vanecek stopped 34 shots, but lost a chance for his second shutout when Craig Smith scored a power-play goal 3 minutes into the third.

The Bruins played a video tribute for Chara on the Jumbotron midway into the opening period with Washington already leading 2-0. He got a standing ovation from the TD Garden crowd, which was limited by the state to 12% capacity because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Skating near his bench, Chara appeared touched, raising his stick and clapping back to the crowd before patting his chest with his left glove and waving.

The 44-year-old Chara was the Bruins’ captain for his 14 seasons with the club. He helped them win the 2011 Stanley Cup, and was a key part of its runner-up teams in 2013 and 2019.

Washington jumped ahead 3-0 in the opening half of the period, starting when Oshie one-timed Nicklas Backstrom’s pass into the net from the slot for a power-play goal at 7:33.

Just 16 seconds later, Eller took a pass from Carl Hagelin, cut around Boston defenceman Jarred Tinordi and flipped a shot over Dan Vladar’s glove.

Sheary scored on a 3-on-2 break to make it 3-0 at 9:42. He also scored off a rebound for a power-play goal early in the second.

Chara said on a Zoom interview after the morning skate that his wife and three children, who still live in Boston, were expected to be at the game.

During Chara’s first game in Boston — his first since signing a one-year contract with Washington as a free agent during the off-season — the Bruins had a video tribute with recorded messages from fans thanking him.

SHORTHANDED

The Bruins were missing four of their top defencemen . Charlie McAvoy (third straight game), Matt Grzelcyk (injured Saturday) and Brandon Carlo (fifth straight) are all out with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Kevan Miller, working back from off-season knee surgery, didn’t play because it was consecutive days.

OPENING SPACE

The Capitals traded Jonas Siegenthaler to New Jersey on Sunday for a 2021 third-round pick. Washington cleared $800,000 in salary-cap space before the trade deadline Monday by dealing one of the eight defencemen on its active roster.

The 23-year-old Siegenthaler is a restricted free agent after this season. A 2015 second-round pick from Switzerland, he has 13 points in 97 regular-season NHL games, all with the Capitals.

EXTRAS

Washington defenceman Brenden Dillon and Boston forward Chris Wagner dropped the gloves for a fight 4 seconds into the game. ... Backstrom needs two games for 1,000 in his career. ... It was Boston’s first of a five-game homestand. ... It was a season high for goals allowed by Boston, and the first time the Capitals scored eight since an 8-1 win at Atlanta on Jan. 9, 2010.

UP NEXT

Capitals: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

Bruins: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

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Ken Powtak, The Associated Press