One preseason game down, five more to go until the Boston Bruins officially start the season and boy did it start off with a boom, for their side at least. In their first preseason game, they shut out the New York Rangers 3-0 at TD Garden on Sunday night.
It may have been the first preseason game, but the crowd sure wasn’t acting like it as they came out in droves to see the Bruins back on the ice for the first time since being knocked out of the playoffs back at the end of April.
Initially the game was scheduled for 5 p.m., but due to travel delays for the Rangers, it was pushed back to 5:45 p.m. There’s a lot to be gleaned from one game, but here are our main takeaways from last night’s game.
Brandon Bussi is a legitimate threat to Jeremy Swayman
Last night, as we all know well by now, Brandon Bussi pitched a shutout against a divisional rival. Normally, that wouldn’t say a lot, but when it’s a goaltender who has only been in the league for one year, and Boston’s coaching staff had the confidence to give him the whole game – against a veteran netminder in Jonathan Quick, mind you – that speaks volumes.
Bussi made 29 saves in the effort, including a sprawling save to his right on a Jonny Brodzinski one-timer off a touch-pass from Filip Chytil just six minutes into the final frame.
Bussi was a premiere goaltender last season for the Providence Bruins where he was named to the AHL All-Star game, and the AHL All-Rookie team. He also produced a 22-win season in his first professional season while only losing five games in regulation and an addition four in overtime/shootout.
Maybe I’m being premature in saying this, but this further proves that the Bruins are one of the most well set-up teams at the goalie position in the league. Bussi was called up at different times to the NHL to back-up Jeremy Swayman or Linus UIlmark, but never saw any game action. Maybe this will be the year he does…
Matthew Poitras is legit
A year after being drafted in the second round (#54 overall), Matt Poitras is finally getting a shot to play in the preseason for Boston, and after making a strong impression in camp, he made a strong impression in game action.
After the Bruins kept the puck in the Rangers’ zone for almost a minute straight on the first power play of the game, Poitras took a feed from Reilly Walsh and wristed it past Quick from the left point for his first point of the preseason.
In addition to the goal, the 19-year-old also had an assist on Jake DeBrusk’s goal in the second period, that gave Boston a 2-0 lead over New York just over three minutes into the period.
Bruins head coach Tim Montgomery was hesitant to say he had a chance to make the roster, but he did say that Poitras had definitely started out the preseason well and was going to have to work very hard to make the roster out of camp. Unfortunately for Poitras, if he were to not make the team, he would have to go back to the Ontario Hockey League, so he is focused on making the team at all costs.
Jake DeBrusk, Morgan Geekie, James van Riemsdyk look ready for the season
Going into Sunday night’s game it was almost puzzling to see such experienced players out on the ice for Boston so soon into the preseason, but I guess it was just to get their legs going, maybe to build some chemistry.
While van Riemsdyk is most likely going to be paired up with David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha on the second line, this is a possible look at one of the power play units the Bruins could be running out this season, and DeBrusk showed no rust with his goal.
As we get closer to the regular season, we’ll see more of these three, but in the meantime, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the rookies or prospects who are hoping to make lives harder for Don Sweeney and co.
With van Riemsdyk picking up a helper on the goal by DeBrusk, it was finally a sign of jubilation for Bruins’ fans that he did something good, not an “oh crap, not again” moment after all of his years of torturing fans in Boston. Geekie was solid and won draws to help the offense get started, but didn’t contribute on the scoreboard. Watch for him to play a bit more before slowing his playing time.
John Beecher is going to make it tough to send him to Providence
Through one game in the preseason, John Beecher is already making it difficult to send it down to Providence at the end of the preseason.
Beecher tallied a goal in the shutout victory over the Rangers on a breakaway chance off a feed by Jakub Zboril. While both players are teetering on ones that could be dangled as trade bait, the nifty move by Beecher could be one the keeps him around.
Beecher is entering his third professional season (second full), and is looking to improve on his numbers from 2022-23 where he played in 61 games, scoring nine goals with 14 assists (23 points).
Beecher is signed through 2024-25. With that said, he has two seasons left to prove that he belongs here in Boston before he is left to test the free agency waters, or if he proves to be valuable, but without the space, to be traded for a more valuable piece.
The Bruins are off to a flying start, taking a shutout win in their first preseason game against the Rangers.
Their next game is on the road on Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres at the KeyBank Arena, puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.