|Bruins open season with win over Rangers||01.19.13 at 9:42 pm ET|
The Bruins started things off right Saturday, opening the 48-game season with a 3-1 win over the Rangers at TD Garden.
Milan Lucic got the Bruins on the board in the first period thanks to a nice play that was started by Andrew Ference. The veteran blueliner hit David Krejci with a pass at the Rangers’ blue line, and Krejci fired a snapshot that yielded a kick save from Henrik Lundqvist that bounced right to Lucic. The 24-year-old buried the rebound to give the B’s a 1-0 lead.
Daniel Paille made it 2-0 in the second period, sending a pass to Gregory Campbell in the neutral zone and hustling to the net to deflect Campbell’s shot past Lundqvist. That goal woke the Rangers up, however, as New York picked up its play and cashed in on a Brad Richards wristshot from outside the right circle that went through a crowd and beat Tuukka Rask top shelf stick-side.
As usual, the Bruins sent the fourth line out following the goal, and both Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell tried to help the Bruins regain momentum by dropping the gloves with Mike Rupp and Stu Bickel, respectively. The fights occurred three seconds apart from one another.
The B’s managed to add to the lead in the third period thanks to Johnny Boychuk, who was celebrating his 29th birthday Saturday. Boychuk threw a wristshot toward the net that went off a Rangers player and the seemingly the stick of Patrice Bergeron before finding its way past Lundqvist. The goal was credited to Boychuk, though to the naked eye it appeared Bergeron may have gotten a piece of it.
The B’s will return to action Monday when they host Blake Wheeler and the Jets in a matinee at TD Garden. They’ll face the Rangers again Wednesday in New York.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– It was good to see Lucic get off to a good start, as the power forward entered the season surrounded by questions of what kind of shape he kept himself in during the lockout. Lucic went without a goal in the first six games last season and hadn’t scored in a season opener in the first four years of his career.
– The B’s came through with a huge five-on-three penalty kill in a one-goal game in the third period. Thirty seconds after Lucic went off for boarding Carl Hagelin, Patrice Bergeron was caught in the Rangers’ zone and Rick Nash sped through the Bruins’ zone and split Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. Chara hooked Nash, giving the Rangers 1:30 of five-on-three play without the Bruins’ best defenseman on the ice. Seidenberg, Bergeron, Chris Kelly, Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid and Andrew Ference did a masterful job limiting the Rangers, and Ference eventually drew a hooking call on Nash with 20 seconds remaining in the Chara penalty.
– Dougie Hamilton did what the Bruins wanted him to do: Play smart hockey and limit mistakes. The 19-year-old played the first shift of his NHL career on the power play thanks to a Carl Hagelin interference penalty 19 seconds into the game.
Hamilton was paired with Dennis Seidenberg and was credited with two shots on goal and three hits on the night.
– The Rangers took a too-many-men penalty with 58 seconds remaining and Lundqvist pulled, effectively ending any shot at a two-goal comeback in the final minute.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Henrik Lundvist turned in an easy candidate for save of the year when he snagged a David Krejci who into a wide open net just before it crossed the line with the B’s on the power play in the third. The goal appeared to be such a sure thing that the spotlight actually came on for a second to celebrate the goal, but the reigning Vezina winner was quick to turn it off. The play was reviewed and upheld.
– Speaking of interference penalties, there were three such calls between the two teams, and there were four in the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game. Looks like the calls will be a bit tighter, at least early on in the season.
– Ference had a bit of bad luck, as he made the long pass to Krejci that led to Lucic’s goal, but he got off the ice for a change before Lucic put the puck in the net. He was then on the ice for Richards’ goal, so he had a minus-1 rating despite having played a major hand in Boston’s first goal.
– In the what-else-is-new department, the Bruins’ power play struggled and went 0-for-7 on the night. It was particularly sloppy in the first period and got better looks as the game went on, but the good news is that the B’s also kept the Rangers without a goal on their five power plays.
|Jeremy Jacobs: Season should have started in October||01.19.13 at 6:43 pm ET|
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs released the following statement prior to the start of Saturday night’s season-opener against the Rangers:
‘Last week we announced that we reached an agreement on a new CBA and tonight the Bruins are back on the ice. When the puck drops, we put the last four months behind us and celebrate the return of hockey to Causeway Street. Like all of you I wanted nothing more than to have the season start on time in October. Make no mistake – it should have. The fact that we were unable to reach an agreement until just recently is a disappointment.
“I want to personally apologize to our fans and others who depend on this team for their livelihood. But these are just words. The best way to make it up to you is to play hard and win.
“I said last year after our playoff exit that the Stanley Cup is on loan. I really meant it. We have a strong team and one that I believe will be very competitive this season. I expect us to contend for the Cup. We have 48 games in 96 days before the playoffs.
“It’s no longer a marathon – it’s truly a sprint.
“But our advantage – and it’s a significant one – is that we know how to win. I remember asking our players a few years ago how many of them had won the Cup. Just a few of our players raised their hand. Before the start of the last season I asked the same question. Nearly everyone raised their hand.
“We want this for our team. We want this for our fans. We know what victory feels like and we want that feeling again. I can think of no better way to bring our team back together than to focus on our shared goal of winning another Stanley Cup for Boston, New England and Bruins fans around the world.’
|Claude Julien on Rangers: ‘Let’s go at it’||01.19.13 at 12:39 pm ET|
For the most part, the Bruins have a relatively easy schedule for the first third or so of the season. They’ll only face two teams that made the playoffs last season in their first 15 games, but one of them is the Rangers, and they’ll face them three times.
To narrow it down even more, the Bruins will face the Rangers twice in their first three games of the 48-game season. The B’s and Rangers are two popular favorites to make it out of the Eastern Conference this season, as the B’s no longer have the Stanley Cup hangover excuse, while the Rangers have added six-time 30-goal-scorer Rick Nash to a roster that grabbed the top seed in the East last season.
That means both teams will have a couple of big tests right off the bat, and could easily begin the season with two early losses if they aren’t sharp enough. Claude Julien said after Saturday’s morning skate that he embraces the challenge.
“I don’t know if I feel more weight; I think I like that opportunity,” Julien said. “I really do. I’d rather play one of the best teams in the conference than not. And right now let’s go at it. Like I said, we’re both at the same stage where we’ve had six days of training camp. Let’s go at it. You know, we go at it again on Wednesday. So there’s no issue from my end of it, and as I’ve always said you control what you can and control your team and the schedule is made and then you go with it.”
Tuukka Rask, who will get the nod in net for the B’s Saturday, said that he expects the Rangers to be a difficult opponent with the addition of Nash, but that he expects every game to be a challenge.
“You know what? It doesn’t matter who you play against in this league,” he said. “Every team has good players, and everybody knows they added him during the offseason. They’ve got some power up front, so we’ve just got to be aware of that and get ready.”
|Dougie Hamilton ready for NHL debut||01.19.13 at 12:20 pm ET|
It’s cliche to say that every young hockey player dreams of one day being in the NHL, but it’s true. Dougie Hamilton will finally realize his dream when he takes the ice Saturday night at TD Garden against the Rangers.
Hamilton, 19, comes into the NHL with some big expectations. The 6-foot-5 blueliner was drafted with the ninth overall pick in 2011 and dominated the OHL last season with 72 points (17 goals, 55 assists) in 50 games.
Maybe Hamilton will deal with nerves (often times veterans will tell young players to try to hit someone as soon as possible on their first shift to get it out of their system and get comfortable), or maybe there will just be excitement. Hamilton doesn’t know exactly what it will feel like, but he’s guessing he’ll like it.
“I’m sure I’ll have a smile on my face,” Hamilton said after Saturday’s morning skate. “It’s a dream come true for me. The opportunity is really special, and I’m just going to enjoy it as much as I can.”
Hamilton’s parents will be in town for the Ontario native’s debut after catching brother Freddie Hamilton‘s game for the Worcester Sharks Friday night. Dougie didn’t go to Friday’s Worcester game, electing to rest up for what figures to be a big day. Though he may have felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, Hamilton said he “slept great.”
Claude Julien hasn’t hidden the fact that he has quite a bit of faith in the 19-year-old. In addition to putting him on an important pairing with Dennis Seidenberg, Julien has trusted Hamilton with a spot on the team’s second power-play unit.
This is the same coach who took heat (much of it unfair) for not playing Tyler Seguin enough on the power play in his rookie year, but Julien clearly likes what Hamilton brings to the table even as a rookie, and he wants to see as much of it right away as possible.
If the mistakes come from the rookie, they come. Julien would rather Hamilton play his game and learn as he goes than take a timid approach.
“If he’s still here, it’s because he’s good enough to play,” Julien said of Hamilton. “I think you’ve got to allow players to go out there and play. You’ve heard me say that before: Go out there and play. I’d rather pull him back than have to push him. So he’s got to go out there with confidence, and he’s got to go out there knowing that we have the confidence in him, and just play his game.”
Hamilton projects to be a top-pairing defenseman one day and has drawn comparisons to former Norris Trophy winner Rob Blake. He still needs to fill out his frame (he’s a bit lanky at 199 pounds, though both Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara have each gained 20 or more pounds since coming into the league as rookies) and adjust to the physical demands of the league, among other things, but Julien looks at Hamilton’s game and sees NHL experience as the only thing missing.
“He’s a pretty good all-around defenseman. What he’s got to do is gain some experience, and that will only come with time,” Julien said. “I think we all know he’s got the size, we all know he can move the puck well. We all know he skates well, we all know he’s got great hockey sense, so where is his weakness? I don’t think he has a weakness more than the only weakness he has is his lack of experience. We’ve got to allow him to get that.
“We like where he is, we like what he’s brought so far, and you’ve seen lots of guys come in the league the same way he has and do well, and we expect him to be that guy.”
|Adam McQuaid cleared to play, no surprises in morning skate||01.19.13 at 11:40 am ET|
Everybody was on the ice and the lines and defensive pairings were as expected as the Bruins held their morning skate in anticipation of Saturday’s season opener against the Rangers.
Claude Julien said that Adam McQuaid has been given clearance to play after recovering from blood clot surgery over the last few months, so expect to see him in the lineup.
In a bit of obvious news, Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice, meaning he’ll get the nod in net for the B’s. Depth guys Lane MacDermid, Jay Pandolfo and David Warsofsky were also on the ice, meaning everyone was accounted for at the skate.
Based on morning skate, the lines, defensive pairings and goaltenders are as follows:
|Bruins hold off-ice workouts||01.18.13 at 12:00 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins stayed off the ice Friday at Ristuccia Arena, taking a day for off-ice workouts after skating for the previous five days. Only Jordan Caron (out with an upper-body injury) and Milan Lucic (who missed Thursday’s practice due to the birth of his daughter) took the ice, which had to be disappointing for those in the packed stands.
The Bruins will kick off the season Saturday at TD Garden against the Rangers, marking the first game of their 48-game schedule. Two of the Bruins’ first three games will come against the Rangers, who finished first in the Eastern Conference last regular season and added power forward Rick Nash in a trade with the Blue Jackets.
“I think it’s a good want to start for us,” Claude Julien said. “It’s a team that I think a lot of people are predicting has a real good chance of winning a Stanley Cup, so we might as well get at it right away and play against a good team. If anything, it will certainly make us better quicker, and to me, it’s a great way to start.”
|Ryan Spooner, Matt Bartkowski among Bruins camp cuts||01.17.13 at 9:59 pm ET|
The Bruins cut down the number or players in camp Thursday night, announcing four player moves. Defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Ryan Spooner were assigned to Providence, forward Jamie Tardiff was waived with for the purpose of assignment to Providence and defenseman Aaron Johnson was sent to Providence on a conditioning loan.
The transactions leave forwards Chris Bourque and Lane MacDermid as well as defenseman David Warsofsky as the Providence players still in camp. Bourque is expected to begin the season on Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley’s line, with MacDermid and Jay Pandolfo left to battle for the extra forward spot. Pandolfo is in camp on a tryout.
The Bruins could recall Johnson from his conditioning stint. Should he remain in Providence, Warsofsky will begin the season as the team’s seventh defenseman.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.