Finally! The Bruins are back! It felt like the wait would never end! At long last, the NHL preseason has started and the Bruins played their first game last night in Montreal against their rival, the Canadiens. While teams are mostly playing their low-tier players who are fighting for roster spots, it is still encouraging to see the Bruins win their first game.. and against their rivals! ..and by a solid margin of 6-3!
Beating the Habs is enjoyable in itself, but there were many more positive notes to take away from last night’s game. First, is the goaltending. We didn’t even play our #1 goalie, Tuukka Rask, but rather let our next two best goalies try out for the #2 spot (our previous #2, Anton Khudobin was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes). These two goalies are Chad Johnson and Malcolm Subban (whose older brother P.K. plays for the Habs). Johnson didn’t have the best numbers, stopping 5 of 8 shots against him, but regardless, he did look solid and it looks like he’ll be our #2 goalie as expected.. especially since Subban is only 19 years old and needs to get more experience under his belt. Subban did look very good, though. He didn’t let in a single goal, stopping 12 of 12 shots against him. So, knowing how great Rask is, I feel very optimistic about our goaltending this season. By contrast, the Habs played their #1 goalie, Carey Price, for half of the game.. and he looked to be his usual inconsistent self, which is awesome for us. He let in three goals, stopping 19 of 22 shots. Their #2 goalie, Robert Mayer, was alright, I guess. He did let in three more goals, though, stopping 15 of 18 shots. So the Bruins’ goaltending looks to be good this season, and much better than that of the Habs.
Next, we come to the offense.. This was another area where the Bruins looked good, and much better than the Habs. The most telling statistic is that we outshot them by a whopping 40-20! Obviously, our offense was working. More importantly, though, there were a few Bruins players that really stood out. First, there’s Jarome Iginla. He came to Boston from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the offseason, having obviously made the wrong choice going there instead of here last season as we swept them in the Eastern Conference Finals. He wasted no time showing his worth. He scored the first goal of the game, eight and a half minutes into the game.. and on a power play! (Bruins fans know that our power play has struggled in the last few years). He then scored another goal nine and a half minutes into the third period to give the Bruins a 4-3 lead. Both goals were on very good shots. With a pair of goals, he is looking to be a great acquisition for this season.
It wasn’t just Iginla, though. His whole line, with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, looked great. The had a huge impact, combining for three goals and six points! Krejci was the scorer of this line’s third goal. After the game, Iginla said “this was my first chance to play with [Lucic and Krejci] and see them up close. I see how strong they are … I can see why they have a lot of success. I had some fun out there.” Awesome!
Another highlight of the offense was how well right winger Nick Johnson played. He has been in and out of the NHL and other leagues, but was fighting for a roster spot last night. After a solid performance, he is well on his way to proving himself. He scored two goals, including one on a power play, and one that was unassisted on a breakaway. In a similar situation, though without any NHL experience, was defenseman Zach Trotman. He too had a good game, and even scored the final goal (during a power play).
Our offense in general looked good. What’s even better, though, is how improved our power play looks. We scored four goals with the extra man on only six power plays! That’s almost as many as we scored in the whole postseason last year. ..not really, but we definitely struggled. On the flip side, we still look very good on the penalty kill. Last night we had to kill nine penalties and only let the Habs score in two of them. Further, the mistakes that led to those two goals will likely not be seem in the regular season.
On the physical side of things, it’s always nice to see the Bruins and Habs have a fight. In the third period, Adam McQuaid dropped the gloves against Stefan Fournier. It’s always fun to watch McQuaid beat someone up, especially if its one of the Habs. Also worth noting, Carl Soderberg seems to be getting more comfortable with how physical the NHL is. Having come to us from the Swedish Elite League last season, he was definitely not used to it, and it showed when he played. In this game, however, he showed that he is now ready for it, dishing out some great hits. Now he only needs to learn what he can get away with as he got a couple of penalties last night.
So, in conclusion, I’m totally psyched that the Bruins are back, and the Habs can suck it! Seriously, though, I’m so glad the NHL is back in action. For those who love hockey, there is no other sport that can give you the same thrill and excitement. It’s only been one preseason game, but the Bruins did look good.. and our rivals, the Canadiens, looked mediocre. So, all in all, Bruins fans should be very happy. Here’s to another great season. GO BRUINS!!
Here’s a video of Jarome Iginla’s two goals:
Here’s a video of Nick Johnson’s breakaway goal:
Here’s the NHL’s video recap:
(it hasn’t loaded yet, but it should eventually be at this link..)
Here’s the boxscore:
Now, to get you pumped up for this season, here’s an amateur, but very good
Bruins 2013-14 Season Promo:
Thanks for reading,