On April 22, 1998 the Capitals opened their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Boston Bruins. The game marked the first-ever Stanley Cup playoff contest played at Washington’s new home downtown in the District. Washington won it by a 3-1 score to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Veteran Caps winger Brian Bellows started the scoring at 16:40 of the first period with a single assist from Peter Bondra. Boston owned a slim 13-12 advantage in first period shots on goal.
The Caps added to their lead early in the second on a goal from defenseman Sergei Gonchar at the 2:49 mark. Michal Pivonka and Todd Krygier assisted on Gonchar’s goal.
Just over four minutes after Washington took that two-goal lead, the Bruins shaved it back to a single goal. With ex-Bruin Joé Juneau in the penalty box for a hi-sticking infraction, ex-Cap Dmitri Khristich scored on the power play for Boston with help from ex-Cap Jason Allison and rookie sensation Sergei Samsonov.
The Capitals outshot Boston 9-7 in the middle period.
The entire third period was played with both teams at even strength and the Bruins gunning for the tying goal. Boston outshot the Caps 8-7 in the final frame, but the Caps salted the contest away when Esa Tikkanen scored into an empty Bruins net with 22 seconds remaining. Ex-Bruin Adam Oates supplied the single assist on Tikkanen’s tally.
With 27 saves on the night, Caps goalie Olie Kolzig was the game’s first star. Boston defenseman Raymond Bourque was the game’s No. 2 star and Capitals blueliner Calle Johansson was the No. 3 star.