|10.06.11 at 9:58 pm ET|
The Bruins’ banner-raising ceremony figured to be the most memorable part of Thursday night for the B’s, and the Flyers made sure of it by defeating the Bruins, 2-1, in the season-opener.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Tyler Seguin set up a Brad Marchand power play goal. The Flyers got on the board with a power play goal of their own thanks to Claude Giroux in the final minute of the first period, and Jakub Voracek made it 2-1 with less than three seconds remaining in the first.
Both the Bruins and the Garden crowd appeared tired by the time the second period had rolled around, and after a scoreless second, the B’s woke up in the third period. The first line, which was nonexistent through the first two periods (see below) woke up, but an improved third-period effort wasn’t enough to mount a comeback.
Tim Thomas amide 27 saves for the Bruins, while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 22 shots.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Pretty sloppy first game for the top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton. Each had their bright spots, as Krejci nearly set up a Brad Marchand goal during a line change, but collectively the line didn’t get into much of a rhythm and failed to connect on its passes. The line didn’t have a shot on goal until the third period and was a minus-1.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Horton failed to bury an opportunity in front with an open net. He took too long upon catching the pass from Krejci, and eventually had his bid blocked by the stick of Kimmo Timonen. Krejci nearly tied the game with les than five minutes to go, as Bryzgalov accidentally dropped the puck in the crease after Krejci’s wrist shot, but he covered it before the center could get to it.
– The members of the first line weren’t the only Bruins to fail to get pucks on Bryzgalov. The Bruins had just six shots on goal in both the first and second periods. The only forwards with multiple shots on goal were Marchand (3) and Seguin (2).
– Kelly missed the net on a 2-on-1 with Seguin in the first period. The new co-aletnerate captain played well in centering the new-look third line, but he won’t get easier opportunities than that. Given that the Bruins would lose a low-scoring game, a blown opportunity like that looks even worse.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Power play woes were the norm last season until the B’s went 5-for-27 on the man advantage against the Canucks. On Thursday, the new-look second unit of Joe Corvo, Patrice Bergeron, Marchand, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley yielded Marchand’s first period tally. Seguin hit Marchand with a long pass from just outside the neutral zone to set up Marchand. The B’s ended up a modest 1-for-5.
– Speaking of Marchand and Seguin, they were two of the best players on the ice Thursday. Marchand had plenty of scoring opportunities, as he undressed Chris Pronger in the second period before Bryzgalov poked the puck away. The Flyers’ netminder robbed Marchand again later in the period with a glove save in front.
As for Seguin, there was a lot to like about his line with Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron. The second-year player looked much more assertive than he was in his rookie season, and he created opportunities in areas where he may have been timid a season ago. Keep an eye on that line going forward.
|10.06.11 at 9:48 pm ET|
With a sellout crowd roaring, the Bruins capped a 25-minute pregame ceremony on opening night by raising the sixth Stanley Cup championship banner in franchise history.
Current players who played on the 2011 Stanley Cup title team last June along with members of the last Bruins team to win the Cup in 1972 brought the banner from center ice – where it hung during the ceremony alongside the Stanley Cup – to its final resting place alongside the 1972 banner high above TD Garden ice.
The Bruins held the ceremony prior to the season opener against the new-look Flyers.
|10.06.11 at 6:45 pm ET|
|10.06.11 at 6:10 pm ET|
According to a tweet from the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa, defenseman Adam McQuaid (illness) will not play in the Bruins’ season-opener Thursday against the Flyers. Matt Bartkowski, who was set to begin the season as the team’s seventh defenseman, will reportedly play in McQuaid’s place.
McQuaid participated in Thursday’s morning skate, but coach Claude Julien said after the skate that a decision on his status would be made closer to game time.
|10.06.11 at 1:38 pm ET|
By now the cliche about how teams will come out harder against the Bruins because they’re Stanley Cup champions has been used plenty, but there may be no better case of that than Thursday.
The Bruins will be facing the team they eliminated with an easy sweep in the second round last spring when they open the season Thursday against the Flyers. The Bruins’ steamrolling over the Flyers could be considered among the reasons the Flyers blew it up in the offseason, trading captain Mike Richards as well as leading goal-scorer Jeff Carter.
On Thursday, the remaining members of that team, as well as the newcomers, will have to watch the Bruins raise their championship banner in a wild environment at TD Garden. If that can’t motivate a team on opening night, nothing can.
“It’s opening night, so people are jacked up,” defenseman and alternate captain Andrew Ference said after the Bruins’ morning skate. “I think there’s always more concentration on your own team than there is on what’s going on on the other side. Obviously, they want to ruin the party. That’s a no-brainer.”
Ference has plenty of experience being the “other team” at a team’s banner-raising ceremony. He actually made his NHL debut in Dallas against the Stars when they raised their Stanley Cup champions banner in 1999. The Bruins were the Ducks’ opponent for Anaheim’s home opener in 2007, so Ference has twice been a visitor at a banner-raising.
“I can remember a lot more from the Anaheim game, because for the Dallas one, my head was spinning around,” Ference recalled. “It’s an opening night. Team opening nights are a little bit crazier. You wait a little longer in the room for all the pageantry to get done with. You’re mentally prepared for it.”
Players in the Bruins’ room could imagine the Flyers would be motivated to come out harder against the team that ended their season. Guys like David Krejci discussed the importance of focusing on themselves, but Ference noted that given the rivalry that has existed between the two teams, Thursday would be a challenge one way or another.
“Even if we didn’t [eliminate them], it’s a Flyers-Bruins game,” Ference said. “Philly’s always gong to come in and give you a heck of a game. Especially at the start of the season, that’s when you see the crazy hockey. You see some of the big scorers and the seesawing of teams trying to find out who they are. After Thanksgiving, it kind of settles down a bit, but the start of the season is always a little bit crazy.
“You never know what to expect, and it’s usually pretty fun for highlight sand real energetic games. Not always the tightest systems, so no matter if it’s Philly or whoever, we’re going to have tough games and have to be on our toes for all of them.”
|10.06.11 at 12:29 pm ET|
Bring your questions to WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean to discuss Thursday night’s season opener and the 2011-12 season. The chat kicks off at 2 p.m.
|10.06.11 at 12:21 pm ET|
Adam McQuaid participated in the Bruins’ morning skate Thursday, taking the ice for the first time since Tuesday. The second-year defenseman had been under the weather, causing him to leave Tuesday’s practice early and miss Wednesday’s altogether.
Claude Julien expressed some optimism after the skate but said the Bruins will make a decision “closer to the game” regarding whether McQuaid will play. If McQuaid can’t go, Matt Bartkowski will play in his place.
Then there’s the question of who will be the healthy scratch among forwards. One would imagine it would be down to third-line wingers Jordan Caron and Benoit Pouliot. Julien did not reveal who would end up watching from the press, saying “we told everybody to be ready for tonight.”
Just a hunch, but the feeling here is that the Bruins pull a bit of a surprise and make Pouliot the scratch.