The Bruins biggest problems last season were the lack of production on the third line and the power play. Last night, we saw one of those problems evaporate in front of Boston’s mortal enemies, the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins scored four power play goals during the game, and gave the Montreal organization some serious worries about the strength of their goaltending as they ran over the Habs, 6-3.
The Bruins opened up a shooting gallery against Montreal goatenders Carey Price and Robert Mayer, outshooting the Canadiens 40-20. Carey Price allowed three goals on twenty two shots(.863 save %), and Meyer let in three on eighteen(.833%). The second straight loss must have the Montreal staff trying to figure out if this is just rust due to actual contact, or is there a serious problem going on in the organization.
The Bruins outright silenced their critics by an outstanding performance by the Bruins new first line. Jarome Iginla made an impressive debut in Black and Gold, starting the Bruins scoring drive off in the first period. His shot sailed through an unaware Carey at 8:29, giving the Bruins the early 1-0 lead. The Bruins never fell behind at any point throughout the match. Iginla put up a second goal in the third period. David Krejci put up a goal of his own on Mayer in the third. Milan Lucic came out of the box with impressive speed and proved he’s ready for the season. He finished with three assists, all earned on his linemate’s goals.
Torey Krug made a statement about his staying in Boston. The young blueliner also had a three point night, earning assists on the Iginla and Krejci goals. The surprise star of the night was forward Nick Johnson. Johnson made a rather impressive case for himself as well. He scored twice last night on Carey Price, once with the help of Bartkowski and Spooner in the first period, and an impressive solo breakaway in the second. (If the keeps up Chris Kelly, could get a little nervous.)
Adam McQuaid got the first fight of the season in for Boston, squaring off against Stefan Fournier. It wasn’t so much a fight as a freestyle wrestling match. Both players got a take down, and both players went in to the box with smiles on their faces. (It was kind of amusing to see the excitement on Fournier’s face. It was his first NHL fight, and he spent the entire five minutes chatting up the sin bin attendant. Yeah, he’s a Hab. The kid was thrilled to be there, and that pure joy of the game is why I love hockey.)
There were a few issues of minor concern with Boston though. This was supposed to be the premier of our new back up goaltender Chad Johnson. It was a rough night for Johnson, as he let in three goals on eight attempts(.625%). If Johnson was trying to avoid being relegated to Providence or worse, he made a very bad show of it. Malcolm Subban on the other hand, was impressive. He intercepted all twelve shots in front of them, a few of those saves were made in some rather heavy traffic. Subban did make a few rookie errors (mostly due to still thinking of OHL goaltender rules), but performed very well for his first start in the spoked ‘B’.
The Bruins will need to tweak their face-offs, having only won 24 out of 63 of them last night (38%). They were also surprisingly out hit by a more physical and aggressive Canadiens squad (38-22).
We saw a lot of new faces wearing the ‘A’ last night for Boston. The first ‘A’ I noticed was Milan Lucic. No argument there. Lucic became a beast for us in the last post season, and he’s was being his good old self last night as well. David Krejci had an ‘A’ as well. (another no problem here moment) Krejci still showed his ability to bend time and space in a way that would make a theoretical physicist jealous. Then for me, I got to see what I’ve been lobbying for these last few months.
I have been arguing hard that Thornton should get an ‘A’ this season. Well, it happened Shawn Thornton was being escorted to the box (after earning the Bruins’ first penalty of the season) when I saw the ‘A’ on his jersey. (I don’t often scream ‘F(sounds like truck) yeah!’ very often in my life, and this was one of those rare occasions.) Granted, it’s the pre-season, and some of those letters may disappear come October. However, if the Bruins new plan is to have a whole committee of ‘A’ on their roster, I have no problem with that.
I have often commented on PK Subban, and his love for diving. To his credit, he did not attempt any of the skullduggery or weasel plays that has earned my ire these last few seasons. Max Pacioretty on the other hand should have had a short board installed on center ice. Thankfully, the refs wanted nothing to do with it. They called a very fair game (although they did give the Bruins a power play opportunity that they in all honesty shouldn’t have received).
Overall, it was a great pre-season showcase for the Boston Bruins. They earned their first win, showed of some of their improvements, and gave a sound drubbing to Montreal to boot. The Bruins will be bringing out the other half of their roster tonight in another away game against the Washington Capitals.