Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara leads team to 2-0 win at TD Garden.


Mar 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman

Zdeno Chara

(33) reacts after a goal by Boston Bruins center

Gregory Campbell

(11) during the second period against the Washington Capitals at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins brought a better offense and a stronger set of fundamentals in their home opening pre-season game against the Washington Capitals. The Black and Gold out shot the Caps 31-26, and kept the Capitals from generating any sustained attack until the middle of the third period.  The Bruins pressed the Capitals for most of the game. Without Alex Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom backing up the Caps, the Bruins skated to a 2-0 win.

The Boston Bruins scored their first goal of the pre-season on the power play. (The Bruins went 1-for-4 on the power play.) Bruins captain Zdeno Chara caught his own rebound and fired the puck past Phoenix Copley to break the dead lock at 14:17 in the third period.  Zdeno Chara was obviously the first star of the night. Chara was a +1 with five shots on goal. He had two hits and a takeaway during the game, and put in nearly twenty two minutes (21:53) on the ice.

Tuukka Rask stopped all fourteen shots during the first two periods of play. While Rask looked significantly better than he did during the Black and Gold scrimmage, the Capitals didn’t really make it that hard for him. Jeremy Smith, who will be Malcolm Subban’s back up in Providence, stopped the last twelve shots on net. Smith made an amazing save moving from side to side and making a glove save while practically prone to rob Andre Burakovsky. It was easily the play of the game.

Simon Gagne certainly looked better than he did during the Canadiens game. He even put in an empty-netter from the Bruins’ blue line with 3.3 seconds left in regulation. Gagne was tapped to play both games (as was Ryan Spooner). This could be a sign of the Bruins may want to keep him in a low cost contract, or their giving him a chance to prove that his sub-par performance against Montreal was just him shaking the rust off.

Gagne had three shots, 4:11 on the power play, 1:26 on the penalty kill, and 18:54 on-ice time.

Brad Marchand led all Bruins shooters with six shots on goal. Marchand got himself a secondary assist on the Chara power play goal, and looked great on the ice. He also generated no penalties. Marchand’s maturity level has improved from what we saw last season, and that can only be a plus for Boston.

Ryan Spooner showed again that he has a lot to offer the Bruins with his offensive game. His skating was nimble and solid, and was 70% (best of the night) in the face off circle. While he didn’t have any shots on goal tonight, my guess is that he’s officially cleared the first cut list. There is some work he needs to do in the defensive zone, but he’s generated enough buzz to move on.

Five of the Bruins were over 50% in the faceoff circle. Patrice Bergeron and Alexander Fallstrom won 67% of their battles in the circle. While it wasn’t the most exciting game to watch, it was good to see the Bruins making positive progress during the pre-season. The win evens out the Bruins pre-season at 1-1, and they will take on the Capitals again, this time in D.C on Friday night.