|10.21.10 at 7:50 pm ET|
Michael Ryder has the Bruins on top 1-0 after one period, as he picked up the team’s second power play goal in 16 chances on the season. The Bruins had other opportunities as well, as they looked impressive in turning neutral zone turnovers into scoring chances. Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin each made bids, but it was Ryder’s power play goal with 27.5 seconds left in the period, assisted by Patrice Bergeron and Seguin that had those on hand at the home opener satisfied after one.
Regarding the goaltending, it was another period and another handful of terrific saves from Tim Thomas. The 36-year-old, playing in his fourth straight game, robbed the Capitals forwards on multiple occasions, with Brooks Laich and Alexander Ovechkin a couple of notable victims. The Captials outshot the Bruins, 13-8, in the period. Ryder’s goal was also the first power play goal the Capitals have allowed this season.
You’ve got to love this Bruins fourth line and the energy it can bring. Shawn Thornton outmuscled his way around the offensive zone, tossing two shots on Varlamov and doing a terrific job of keeping the puck in. Additionally, Gregory Campbell had a point-blank bid on a rebound right in front of Varlamov with about six minutes remaining in the period but was stoned by the Washington netminder.
There were two penalties called in the period, a boarding call against Andrew Ference and a tripping call against Matt Hendricks.
|10.21.10 at 6:37 pm ET|
While the media tries to figure out just why such mixed signals were sent Thursday morning, Tim Thomas was the first onto the ice for the Bruins in warmups, meaning he’ll get the nod in net for the B’s, his fourth straight start.
Rask was the first off the ice in practice and spoke to the media after practice about his excitement to get the start. Claude Julien, meanwhile, told the media that, “you’ll see at 7.” Thomas has started the last three games for the Bruins, allowing two goals over a span in which the B’s picked up three straight wins.
Expect the same lines for the Bruins:
Matt Hunwick – Andrew Ference
|10.21.10 at 6:15 pm ET|
…Well, figuratively, anyway. Here’s a shot of an empty Garden just seconds before fans started filing in. From the insane flashing lights they were testing during the day, the opening festivities should be quite the spectacle. Plus, Steven Tyler’s going to be there. What’s not to like?
|10.21.10 at 1:01 pm ET|
Bruins President Cam Neely joined the Dale & Holley show to talk about the B’s as they return to the Garden ice Thursday night for their home opener. Neely talked about the team’s plans for rookie Tyler Seguin, why signing Zdeno Chara to a seven-year contract was the right move and his thoughts on the goaltending situation.
Neely said the Bruins were in an enviable position with Seguin, the second pick in the draft, because they have so much depth. “You have to be careful with expectations for an 18-year-old regardless of where he goes in the draft,” Neely said. “Some can adapt quicker than others, some have the size and strength of an NHL player, some don’t. With Tyler, we’re taking it very slow, we’re taking it very cautious with him.
“We’re certainly in a different position than most second overall picks would be in, they generally are on a team that maybe isn’t as deep as what we currently have. We’re able to have in ease him into this league and get comfortable, learn a little bit more on the defensive side. We expect him to get better and better as time goes on.”
|10.21.10 at 12:42 pm ET|
Home openers are a special thing for players and fans. They make for spectacles consisting of optimism, hype, and screaming fans.
“It’s always special. There’s always that excitement of playing that first game at home in front of your own fans,” Zdeno Chara said. “You always get the butterflies going and the excitement that you only get once a year.”
Count second line winger Blake Wheeler among the players excited for Thursday night’s home opener against the Capitals. He enjoys the fanfare and whatever hoopla comes with the night, but once the puck is dropped, he knows the Bruins have a job to do.
“We can’t really be focused on putting on a show,” Wheeler said Thursday. “We’ve just got to play hard and do the things that have made us successful. That’s what the fans appreciate, so it’s almost like less is more.”
The team has been off to a hot start, following up an ugly season-opening loss in Prague with three straight victories on the road. The offense has clicked, the goaltending’s been outstanding, and the B’s have six points in the last three games.
Preseason aside, Bruins fans last saw their beloved black and gold blow a 3-0 series and Game 7 lead to the Flyers. Thursday the team can officially unveil their revamped roster that has seen the addition of Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin, Jordan Caron and Gregory Campbell. New faces aren’t the only difference for the Bruins, who look to improve their win streak Thursday.
“I think guys have confidence. I think guys are playing with a lot of confidence, and playing well. I think for the most part guys are feeling good. We just want to maintain that momentum and just keep playing hard and not change anything.”
|10.21.10 at 12:22 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin knows that he’s a rookie. He knows that on any given night, chances are he’s the youngest guy on the ice. As such, he’s not going to act like he owns the place when it comes to adjusting to the NHL. Case in point: he answered one question on Thursday morning about the team’s recent play by saying, “I haven’t been around the league long enough” to comment on how good the B’s or other teams are. He’s a high-profile player, but he doesn’t want to take any liberties.
Unlike your average rookie, Seguin doesn’t get flustered or nervous when the attention’s on him. Thursday night he’ll get his first taste of the regular season in Boston. He’s got four games under his belt, but the preseason and his imagination are the only things that could prepare him for playing to a packed Garden.
Is he nervous? Predictably with Seguin, he isn’t. He’s been able to take everything the NHL has thrown at him in stride, and as he knocks off the firsts — game, goal, assist, etc. — he just keeps looking ahead.
“I think the main ones are kind of out of the way now,” Seguin said. “Now I’m just staying focused on improving the little things I need to improve on.”
Seguin admitted that he was nervous prior to his first preseason game against the Canadiens given that it was his first time going up against NHL competition. He had two words to sum up whether the butterflies have lingered and if he still gets nervous: “Not anymore.”
“Everybody is different when it comes to that, and I’ve seen a lot of players that have butterflies before games that are very good players and that’s the way they prepare the best,” Claude Julien said. “Other guys are just not nervous by nature, and hopefully it works to his advantage. [Seguin] has been through a lot, I think, with the draft, and then where he was ranked and all the attention he got, so at the end of the day, this is just another thing going through his program.”
The second overall pick in June’s draft, Seguin has two points — a goal and an assist — and a minus-one rating through four games.
Seguin had a comment last week about not “over-respecting” the competition when a reporter asked him about facing a legend in Martin Brodeur. Maybe it’s because Alexander Ovechkin was a top pick and is a scoring machine like him that Seguin had no problem saying the Russian is in a class he’d one day like to join.
“I mean Ovechkin’s Ovechkin, right? He’s a pretty phenomenal player,” Seguin said. “You want to be the best, and he’s definitely up there, so [having an impact like him] is definitely something you’d want to do in the future.”
|10.21.10 at 12:06 pm ET|
Here’s the video of Bruins coach Claude Julien talking with the media in anticipation of Thursday’s home opener against the Capitals.