For me, the only downside of being at the TD Garden to watch a game live is that I don’t get to hear NESN announcer Jack Edwards fire off his colorful litanies when the Bruins are doing well or poorly. Nevertheless, it was great to have a seat in the tenth row and watch the action play out in front of me. It might have only been the preseason, but both teams had rosters full of players competing for their jobs, and it made for some interesting hockey.
The Bruins have played five preseason games, and have a record of 4-1. The Bruins opened up a shooting gallery on Braden Holtby as the Capitals defensemen (four of have never played a NHL game before) couldn’t seem to get the puck out of their zone. Holtby has to be given credit for keeping the Capitals in this game, for most goalies would have crumpled under the onslaught being dished out by the Bruins. In the end, the Bruins out shot Washington 38-14.
It was a full fight card for the fans as well. There five fights in this pre-season game. Kevan Miller started it off with the Boston Bruins nine and a half minutes in a brief match with Aaron Volpatti. Miller got the upper hand and the take down. Then Milan Lucic reminded us why he’s just one of the most dangerous customers in the NHL. Joel Rechlicz discovered that fact as he chose to take on the veteran forward(and fighter). Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, and Nick Johnson also had fights last night. At one point, the Capitals had more fighting majors than shots on goal.
Both teams accrued a combined total of ninety-six minutes in penalties. There were three too many men on the ice calls, and several calls for instigating and several Capitals players got called for removing their helmets in the fights.
Tuukka Rask seemed to have a little rust on him last night. He stopped twelve of fourteen shots on goal, and seemed to get more comfortable as the night progressed. Tuukka will have another full game on the ice in one of the two matches against the Winnipeg Jets later this week.
The Bruins got both of their regulation goals on the power play, and both were scored by the captain, Zdeno Chara. Dennis Seidenberg had assists on both goals. The Bruins blueline was extremely aggressive on the power play, going 2 for 6 on goals with the man advantage. “No matter where it is, I like to compete in those areas,” said Chara postgame. ”However the coaching staff decides to use me, I’m fine with that. Right now we are trying different looks on the power play.”
“I think it’s big advantage,” commented Seidenberg. ”I mean, if you look at him, he takes away so much vision from the goalie. It takes every goalie every effort just to look around him. It should leave a big part of the net open, if you’re smart about creating shooting lanes and just getting pucks to the net.” The Bruins have tallied nine power play goals in five preseason games.
“And even on rebounds, he’s so strong on the stick and for the most part, he wins the puck battles.”
In the end, it required overtime to seal the deal for Boston. Three and a half minutes in, Matt Bartkowski came hard on the net and took a shot on goal. The rebound came to Chris Kelly and he got it through on a wide open side of the net past Holtby, giving the Bruins the OT win.
In the end, it came down to experience with the puck and the Bruins just found a way to get it past the younger Washington squad. “It’s a very tough situation,” admits Washington coach(and former Bruin) Adam Oates. “You’re throwing them into the lion’s den. It’s a tough building. Obviously, the shots dictated that. ”
“It can be overwhelming. That’s a very good hockey team over there. They have been for a few years. They’re one of the best and they show why every night. They’re relentless, they’re big and they’re strong. And the guys did a good job, doing their best to handle it.”
The Bruins have two away games against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and Friday. The Bruins will tighten up their game and their roster in preparation for their opening night on October 3rd.