Well Bruins fans, I did call a 4-1 win tonight. If that ref had actually not blown his whistle so damn early, it would have been a 4-1 win. My slightly bruised ego aside, I am pleased to report that our Boston Bruins met the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden and gave themselves an opening night victory. The Black and Gold Boston Bruins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning by the score of 3 to 1.
On some levels, it was not the Bruins team we were hoping for. The Bruins were outshot by the Lightning 33 to 25. When it came to hits, the Bruins again were outscored 20 to 14. The Bruins did have some struggles that they had to fight to get out of. The Bruins had a tough time of advancing in the neutral zone during that first period.
While the Bruins weren’t fully impressive on some levels, there were other factors that made you stand up and take notice. The Bruins third line for example. Eleven minutes in of the first period, Bruins third line center Chris Kelly was hooked on a breakaway as he was releasing the puck. Kelly was awarded a penalty shot. Just like Shawn Thornton who surprised us all with his shot two years ago with the Winnipeg Jets, Chris Kelly did not disappoint. Kelly pull off an impressive move that few were expecting, and his short-handed, penalty shot goal became the first time in NHL history that any team has ever begun their season with such a goal.
I was so surprised, I blurted it to social media.
“And Chris Kelly makes NHL history.” Was not a sentence I thought I’d be hearing tonight.
— Andrew E Thompson (@Godwentwhoops) October 4, 2013
There were a few other pleasant surprises throughout the game. After Shawn Thornton threw out the inaugural fist in the Bruins boxing ring, Jarome Iginla stood up to take the second bout for the Black and Gold. He handled himself well, and the crowd was thouroughly satisfied with his performance. Dougie Hamilton was chirping and cuffing in a way that made you think that Brad Marchand died his hair blond and grew a full foot in height.
There were also things that we saw tonight that told us that all was alright with the Bruins. The Bruins penalty kill went 5 for 5 last night. Twice they were forced to kill deep penalties with two men out. Tuukka Rask was his usual amazing self, stopping thirty two of thirty three shots on goal.(.970 save %) Milan Lucic was capable of being an excellent two way player, giving the Bruins the go ahead goal late in the second period. It seemed all too fitting that Patrice Bergeron (or Paddy Cleary when he fights) got the third goal for Boston (and an unassisted one at that).
Did the Bruins play an entire sixty minutes of hockey? No, but they were a lot closer to it than they were a lot of last season. Last season, the puck wanted to help them. This year, the Bruins got themselves out of a hole by working as a team and giving themselves a well earned two points in the Atlantic Division.
The three stars of the night were all Boston. Chris Kelly got the third for his impressive goal. Zdeno Chara got the second for being his dominant presence all night. Tuukka Rask got the first star for being there when the Bruins weren’t all together.