Saturday, October 29, 2011

Game Ten: Home-And-Home With The Habs Part 2

After getting embarrassed at home on Thursday night by the Habs, the Bruins traveled to Montreal tonight for the second game of the home-and-home series to take on the Canadiens. Maybe they did not get embarrassed as far as the score (they only lost the game by a score of 2-1), but losing at home to your rival after dominating most of the game is embarrassing for the players, the coaches, and the fans.

Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot was scratched from tonight's game due to an illness. He was replaced by Jordan Caron.

The key was to come out strong for this game. Bruins head coach Claude Julien sent out his fourth line of Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, and Shawn Thornton to start the game. I am assuming that he did this just to get his team off to a fast and energetic start. Julien was thinking a bit too optimistically.

Boston fell behind again as Montreal scored two goals in the first period. Brian Gionta scored a power play goal after deflecting a shot by Tomas Plekanec past Tuukka Rask. Lars Eller added the second goal a little over a minute later. Boston has now trailed in every game they have played in this season with the exception of the game against Tampa Bay.

The B's began battling the officials in the second period. Some questionable calls got whistled against Boston where similar calls would not get called against Montreal. With that being said, Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban suckered both Andrew Ference and Milan Lucic into minor penalties.

David Desharnais capitalized on the Ference penalty by adding another power play goal for the Canadiens. Montreal had five power play opportunities through the first two periods while Boston had zero. They were not disciplined and they seemed pretty content just laying hits on their opposition instead of playing hockey.

Lucic put Boston on the board after a great defensive play by David Krejci forced the turnover to Nathan Horton and he passed the puck over to Lucic for the one-time shot past Carey Price. The Lucic-Krejci-Horton line was reunited in this game in hopes of those three players returning to playoff form.

Rask made some great saves in the third period. On the offensive side of the puck, the Bruins finally got a power play opportunity. However, the only thing they were able to do with it was hit the post. Tyler Seguin scored a late goal for the Bruins after Rask was pulled for the extra attacker.

Tim Thomas came on in relief of Rask for only a few seconds until he was pulled for another attacker. Plekanec added an empty net goal for the Habs as they went on to defeat the Bruins by a score of 4-2.

The fact that they pulled Rask for Thomas in a tight game shows that they have no confidence in the young goaltender. It is not his fault that the Bruins cannot give him any goal support. Right now, the Bruins really miss Marc Savard.

The Bruins will head back home for a Tuesday night divisional game against the Ottawa Senators.

Gold Star: Daniel Paille...Most likely, no one was paying attention to Paille. If you watched him play tonight, he was one of the stronger players for Boston. The recent trade talks have forced him to pick up his game.

Black Star: Andrew Ference...The walk of shame is a terrible feeling for a hockey player. Even though he took dumb penalties, he also did not play a strong game.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Game Nine: Home-And-Home With The Habs Part 1

It is not officially Bruins season until the first meeting with their rival occurs. It's not even a debate when I say that the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry is the greatest rivalry in sports. Tonight was the first meeting of the season between the two teams.

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty was in action for Montreal tonight, signifying the first time that he played against the Bruins since suffering the "devastating hit" from Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. You know that the government officials and police in Montreal are still unsure whether or not to bring criminal charges against Big Z? My god this issue was dead and buried months ago, at least that is what we all thought. Even Pacioretty went on record saying that he hopes Chara is not charged with criminal actions. That was straight from the horse's mouth.

Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot played against his former team for the first time in this game. The former first round draft pick has had a disappointing career thus far. Hopefully wearing the black and gold will get him going in the right direction. As far as him crossing over enemy lines, Pouliot said that he is glad that he is "on the right side of the rivalry." Take that Montreal.

One last side note, defenseman Adam McQuaid made his return to the lineup after missing the last four games with a neck injury.

Now we can get to the game. The first period was controlled by Boston as they had multiple great scoring chances. They did a great job of drawing penalties. Just one second into a Boston power play, Patrice Bergeron deflected the puck on the ensuing face-off right into the goal. Towards the end of the period, Milan Lucic got reacquainted with old friend P.K. Subban by roughing him up a little bit. Good friends show tough love right?

The second period definitely got interesting. Erik Cole tied the game up for the Canadiens after deflecting a shot by Jaroslav Spacek past Tim Thomas for the goal. The rest of the period consisted of Thomas and Canadiens goaltender Carey Price making great saves robbing clear scoring chances. Questionable calls against Boston negated two potential power plays.

We also got to see Brad Marchand hook up with Subban in a fight. It ended up taking three tries, but the referees finally let them go. The first two times the referees stepped in before they got going and gave them each minor penalties (holding for the first time and delay of game for the second time). Marchand did his job whether he won or lost the fight. Subban is one of Montreal's better defensemen. Getting him off the ice for nine minutes due to penalties was huge.

The third period saw an injection of energy by Boston's fourth line of Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, and Shawn Thornton. Campbell, who left the game briefly in the second period due to being cut with a skate on his leg, also got some time with David Krejci and Nathan Horton. Despite the line up change, the Bruins could not get anything going. Montreal took the lead after a goal by Tomas Plekanec. Boston fell to Montreal by a score of 2-1.

The Bruins fall to last place in the Northeast Division and last place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-6-0 record and six points. Wow. They will play the second game of the home-and-home series against the Canadiens on Saturday night.

Gold Star: Tim Thomas: (33 saves on 35 shots, 2 goals allowed, .943 save percentage)

Black Star: Joe Corvo...Not the best game for the veteran defenseman. He had a couple of broken sticks, which is not a big deal. It happens. But choosing to go for another stick instead of trying to stay in the play could have been costly.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Game Eight: Jumbo Test

Joe Thornton made his return to the TD Garden tonight as his visiting San Jose Sharks took on the Boston Bruins. Unlike former Bruins players like Marco Sturm, Dennis Wideman, and Phil Kessel, the Boston fans will never boo "Jumbo Joe" because he was traded out of Boston. He lifted the organization at a time when the Bruins were downright miserable and often times looked at as a push-over team. He is a well-respected player and an even better person. It is hard to imagine that his NHL career is already 1,000 games old.

His Sharks are not off to the best start this season, sitting in last place in the Pacific Division. They came off a huge shootout win last night against the New Jersey Devils. The reason I mention this is because the Bruins will face opponents who play the previous night 14 times this season. The Bruins are 2-0-0 so far in those respective games and they tried to continue that streak against San Jose.

The entire game consisted of the Sharks utilizing somewhat of an amoeba formation in which the defenders and forwards constantly change position. This tactic is not an easy thing to plan for and the Bruins had some struggles with it early on. Joe Pavelski gave the Sharks an early lead after Thornton fed Pavelski the puck and shot it past Tim Thomas.

Logan Couture doubled their lead after the puck was dumped in the zone and Ryane Clowe beat out three Bruins players to get to the puck. From there, he passed the puck to Couture in front of the net and he was not going to miss from that distance. Shawn Thornton beat Jim Vandermeer pretty convincingly in a fight in hopes of giving Boston some energy heading into the final period.

Did he ever succeed at that or what? The Bruins came out and scored two goals in less than thirty seconds of each other to tie the game. Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin had the goals. They really have become a great tandem in terms of scoring. The chemistry is just there and you get that feeling that something could happen every time they take the ice.

The score did not remain tied for long as Benn Ferriero put the Sharks back on top. He cleaned up a rebound that, in all honesty, Thomas should have had in the first place. They later added an empty net goal as they went on to defeat the Bruins by a score of 4-2.

The Bruins have a long break for the early part of next week but their next game will be Thursday night at the TD Garden when the Montreal Canadiens come in to begin writing the 2011-2012 season chapter of the greatest rivalry in sports.

Gold Star: Tyler Seguin (1 goal, +2 rating, 5 shots on goal)...He is turning into the best player for this Bruins team. Even his defense has improved significantly. His nine points leads all players in the NHL under the age of 20.

Black Star: Nathan Horton...Not a very strong game for the power forward as he finished with a -2 rating.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Game Seven: A Familiar Face

The struggles of the Boston Bruins so far this season have been well documented. A change, or several, needed to be made. Head coach Claude Julien made some drastic changes yesterday at practice that carried over to tonight's game.

David Krejci made his return to the lineup as the third-line center, a position he has not been in since the early part of the 2010 season. Krejci normally centers the first line between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Ironically, none of those three players started the game on the same line. For this game, Horton played on the same line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand while Lucic played with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. The way Boston rotates their top three lines there really is no distinguishable first line because of their depth.

Also, defenseman Steve Kampfer made his season debut tonight as Adam McQuaid was once again unable to play due to his head injury.

Now we can get to their opponent for tonight. The B's took on the Toronto Maple Leafs in their first divisional game this season. Every time Toronto makes the trip to the Garden, we all hear the talk about Phil Kessel. I recently thanked him for giving us the option to trade him out of here and get the draft pick that produced Tyler Seguin.

With that being said, we all need to let the issue with Kessel drop. Obviously the way he left Boston was not the most flattering. However, should we just ignore that he racked up 66 goals and 60 assists for 126 points in three seasons with the B's? Oh how we all forget so quickly.

The Bruins were ranked dead last in the NHL in goals scored coming into tonight, so they needed to come out with some offense quickly. The first period belonged to the Bruins as they controlled much of the possession and had the better scoring chances. The Maple Leafs did get on the board first when David Steckel shot the puck on Tim Thomas and it deflected into the goal. From there, the Bruins went on to score three unanswered goals, two of which were power play goals.

Nathan Horton and Zdeno Chara had the goals when the B's had the man advantage. Chris Kelly scored his second goal of the season after a hustling Milan Lucic charged to the puck and sent it in front of the net for Kelly to put it home. Andrew Ference had an assist on all three first period goals. Kudos to Shawn Thornton for getting into his first fight of the season with Colton Orr to get the team going and to Benoit Pouliot for drawing the two penalties that led to power play goals.

The second period consisted mostly of both teams trading minor penalties. As a result, both teams began to settle down and neither team could not really get any good momentum going. I'm not saying that there were no good scoring chances because that was not the case. Both goaltenders, Thomas for Boston and Jonas Gustavsson for Toronto, just came up with some huge saves.

The Bruins went on another scoring spree in the third period. Lucic and Seguin each scored and they each assisted on the other teammate's goal. Patrice Bergeron picked up his first goal of the season as he skated in uncontested and blasted the puck past Gustavsson. Mikhail Grabovski added a goal for Toronto, but it was not enough at that point.

The Bruins went on to win this game by a score of 6-2. They will welcome in the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Gold Star: Milan Lucic (1 goal, 2 assists, +2 rating, 3 shots on goal)...He found his game for sure tonight playing with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. His physicality led to him being productive offensively.

Black Star: Johnny Boychuk...If you watched him play, you would see that he struggled. He made bad passes that led to turnovers and he had trouble controlling the puck in the offensive zone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Game Six: The Hangover Part 3

The title might be a little bit of a force but you have to start to wonder if this is really happening to the Boston Bruins. A Stanley Cup hangover? Some might call it frustration and some could call it bad luck. Whatever the phrase may be, its aurora is surrounding the B's at this point in time.

In arguably the most frustrating game played thus far in the season, the Bruins fell to the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-1. However, the final score is a side note compared to what happened during this game tonight.

The first period was nicely contested between the two teams. Anthony Stewart put Carolina on the board early by sneaking the puck past Tuukka Rask. Brett Sutter shoved Bruins defenseman Joe Corvo hard into the boards. It did draw an interference penalty, but this was the incident that triggered something in the minds of the B's. It woke them up.

With about six minutes elapsed from the second period, the fans at the TD Garden witnessed a donnybrook. Zdeno Chara received 17 minutes worth of penalties (two minute instigator, five minute fighting major, ten minute misconduct) for sticking up for his teammate Nathan Horton. Jay Harrison was roughing Horton in front of the net by giving him shots to the head. Keep in mind that Horton is recently removed from a concussion. The captain had seen enough and decided to step in.

In the third period, Chris Kelly dropped the gloves for a rare fight against Sutter. Horton, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand were all giving ten minute misconducts. At that point of the game the referees were literally abusing their power by handing out misconducts for minor incidents. Were they trying to get the game back under control? That is a possibility, but a far-fetched one at that.

Even head coach Claude Julien was ejected from this game. Now I have a huge problem with this. This is not like basketball where referees can hand out technical fouls to coaches for showing them up from the bench. However, in hockey the referee has to go out of his way and skate over to the bench to hear what the coach has to say. He could have gave his explanation on the calls to Julien and simply skated away. Head referee Paul Devorski did not do that. A terrible case of an official abusing his power.

Oh yes there was still a hockey game to finish up. Joni Pitkanen put the Canes up 2-0 during the midst of all of these scrums. Rich Peverley added a goal for Boston. He now leads the team with three goals scored. Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu each added five-on-three power play goals late in the game, capping off the victory.

The Garden ice was littered with bottles and trash thrown onto the ice by frustrated Bruins fans. I know it is a difficult task to control your emotions as a fan. With that being said, one should not do that to their team's home ice or any ice for that matter. Reacting like that only makes the city of Boston look bad.

Getting back to the game itself, Julien tried switching up the lines several times tonight. Benoit Pouliot and Patrice Bergeron got some ice time on that first line. Even switching things did not prove to be affective for this game. Tuukka played decent, stopping 19 shots on 23 attempts. You can not really blame him for the last two goals because by then the game was already taken away from the B's by the calls on the ice. He also received a minor penalty for leaving his crease during one of the scrums.

The Bruins won more face-offs (35-32) and out-shot (34-23) their opponent. When you accumulate over 70 penalty minutes, that is where the game is lost. On a side note, David Krejci and Adam McQuaid did not play but they are both listed as day-to-day. The Bruins will be back in action on Thursday night as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gold Star: Gregory Campbell...As the penalties started coming, he was ready to take on a bigger role as the game went on. Even though he finished with a -2 rating, he played tough. Not much else he could have done.

Black Star: Nathan Horton...I understand when a player like Tim Gleason (CAR) gets under your skin. But he took a double minor penalty and a misconduct when the Bruins were only trailing by one goal. An overreaction after a small tap on the leg.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Game Five: Shootout In Chi Town

The two previous Stanley Cup champions took the ice tonight as the Bruins traveled to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. A game between two original six teams brings back memories of good old school hockey. The league should figure out a way to schedule more games between the original six teams, even though the Bruins see two of those teams (Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens) six times each per season.

It took a shootout, but the B's prevailed over the Blackhawks by a score of 3-2. This victory was Claude Julien's 300th career win as a head coach in the NHL.

Boston seemed to play better in this game without a doubt. They needed something to get them going early and they seemed to respond after Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves with Jamal Mayers for the first fight of the season.

I am not the biggest fan of fighting in hockey and I have just grown to accept it as part of the game. However, even I was getting restless about when the team was going to get the first one out of the way. The last time a Bruins team started the first five games of a season without a fighting major was the 1997-1998 season. So, this one was a bit overdue to make sure history did not repeat itself.

Chicago grabbed the lead first after Andrew Ference turned the puck over to Bryan Brickell which led to a break-away goal. Boston tied it up when Chris Kelly scored on a pass from Rich Peverley when they were on the penalty kill. The Bruins now have just as many short-handed goals as they do power play goals (one). Go figure.

Patrick Kane put the Hawks back on top just 1:18 after Boston tied the game. He moved the puck around the front of the net and sniped it past Tim Thomas. I guess making the move from wing to center is working out just fine for the former number one overall draft pick.

Nathan Horton scored his first goal of the season after receiving a pass from a hustling Johnny Boychuk in front of the net. After a scoreless five minute overtime, Thomas shut down the Hawks in the shootout. All it took was a lone shootout goal from Tyler Seguin. The kid now leads the team with five points. Usually a number one center is a point-per-game player. The season is five games old and he has five points.

The puck seemed to be skipping around a lot tonight. The ice did not look to be up to full playing conditions. It affected both teams as they tried to keep the puck in their respective offensive zones. Playing on a surface like that could alter the way a team plays, but it was not bad enough that the ice itself cost a team the game.

The B's will head back home for a Tuesday night game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

On a side note, defenseman Matt Bartkowski took the place of defenseman Adam McQuaid in tonight's lineup. McQuaid was suffering from concussion-like symptoms. Center David Krejci also missed his second consecutive game due to a core injury.

Gold Star: Johnny Boychuk (1 assist, +2 rating, 3 shots on goal)...This was by far his best game thus far this season. He hustled all night and showed true toughness after suffering an apparent arm injury but continued his shift. His hustle also led to the tying goal.

Black Star: Andrew Ference...Costly turnover in the first period that led to the first goal of the game scored by Chicago.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Game Four: Road Opener

"With the second pick the Boston Bruins select, from the Plymouth Whalers, Tyler Seguin."

Those words were uttered by Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He selected the 18-year old Seguin as the second overall pick after receiving that pick from the Phil Kessel trade to Toronto. By the way, thank you Kessel.

Why do I mention this before I discuss tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes? Tonight was Seguin's first opportunity to center the first line. Regular first-line center David Krejci missed the game after suffering a core injury in practice yesterday. It was the kid's chance to shine in this game and to skate on Claude Julien's top line. Hey, that is why Boston drafted him number two overall am I right?

This was a tough one for the Bruins tonight as they came away with a loss, falling to the Hurricanes by a score of 3-2. They now possess a 1-3-0 record. Two Conn Smythe Trophy winners, Tim Thomas and Cam Ward, really stood out in this game for their respective teams. Thomas stopped 31 shots on 34 attempts with a .912 save percentage. Equally as impressive, Ward stopped 26 shots on 28 attempts for a .929 save percentage.

Seguin tallied a goal for the Bruins tonight in his professional debut as a center. After the game, the hockey media were saying how Seguin looked more comfortable as a center. No kidding. That is his natural position. If anything, he looked somewhat uncomfortable all of last season playing right wing. Either way, he also racked up four shots on goal and continues to lead the team in assists (three).

Overall, it was a frustrating night for the B's. They had great opportunities the whole night but were unable to capitalize. Joni Pitkanen, Anthony Stewart, and Jiri Tlusty had the goals for the Hurricanes tonight. Brad Marchand also scored for Boston, his second of the season.

The Bruins did have a very physical edge, which they clearly lacked in the first three games. Perhaps this mini road trip will create a spark for this team. They will travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks on Saturday night.

A couple of side notes: Bruins defenseman Joe Corvo and Hurricanes defenseman Tomas Kaberle each faced their former teams for the first time since switching teams during the offseason (Corvo via trade, Kaberle via free agency). Also Rich Peverley signed a three-year extension yesterday worth up to $3.25 million per year. What ever the B's plans are for the future, they want Peverley to be apart of it.

Gold Star: Tyler Seguin (1 goal, 4 shots on goal, +1 rating)

Black Star: Shawn Thornton...Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the biggest fan of fighting in the NHL. But something needs to get this team going. I know Thornton is trying every game to fight with someone. He needs to find a dance partner quickly to give this team some spark.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Game Three: Matinee Hockey

Matinee hockey. It is definitely a love-hate thing around the NHL. For a fan, it is a great feeling and a great atmosphere to watch a game in the afternoon. For a player, why would they not want to play in the afternoon? No morning skate. No afternoon nap. No extended post-game press conferences into the late hours of the night. They show up, play, and get the game over with.

The Boston Bruins took on the Colorado Avalanche on this Columbus Day afternoon at the TD Garden. A team like Colorado is not expected to do much this season, since they finished near the bottom of the NHL last season and made no key acquisitions during the offseason, with the exception of goaltender Semyon Varlamov. However, those are the teams you have to be extra cautious about.

The Avalanche defeated the Bruins today by a score of 1-0. The only goal of the game came at 7:57 of the third period. Milan Hejduk slid a shot under Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask after receiving the puck on a face-off.

Rask made his season debut today. Head coach Claude Julien made it clear that Rask will be taken much of the load off of Tim Thomas' shoulders this season. It is time for Rask to prove that he belongs on the ice. Keep in mind that it was Rask who was in goal for Boston during the entire 2010 postseason and he was also the opening day starter last season.

The first period heavily favored Colorado, primarily due to the fact that they had three power play opportunities. Boston was not disciplined whatsoever throughout the first 20 minutes. Were the calls questionable? Possibly. You still have to play through it. Rask kept the Bruins in the game during the penalty kill and throughout the period by making 13 saves. The game was scoreless after one period.

Boston's fourth line of Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, and Shawn Thornton played very well in the second period. They may not have a big role, but when they get the ice time they produce the spark the Bruins may need at that point in time.

Ironically, the Bruins first line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic have played less than stellar thus far in this early season. In fact, the other three lines each started a period. Interesting move by the head coach right there.

The Bruins will hit the road for the first time this season on Wednesday as they travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes.

Gold Star: Joe Corvo...He did not do anything that would show up on the stat sheet, but he was arguably the Bruins best defenseman today. He controlled the puck and shut down the Avs forwards at the same time.

Black Star: Zdeno Chara...What was up with Big Z today? He did not come to play today. Plus, he shielded Rask on the play that led to the goal. If anything, he helped Colorado win this game.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Game Two: Eastern Conference Finals Rematch

The Boston Bruins had a tough defeat on opening night against the Philadelphia Flyers. They said that they were going to go out there and spoil the night for the Bruins and that is exactly what they did.

Boston drops the opener. The world is over.

Well that is not the case but no one should be content with last year's Stanley Cup Championship. Sure it was a great victory for the city of Boston, but that was then and this is now. A new season is upon us. The black and gold crest stitched onto their sweaters might as well be painted red because they are targets now. The B's should embrace that and come out fighting every game.

They may have failed to do that on opening night but tonight they came out playing like champions. In a rematch from last year's Eastern Conference finals, Boston took on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Boston out-shot the Lightning 15 to 9 in the first period, yet neither team could produce a goal. Instead, both teams took turns alternating three minor penalties each.

Rich Peverley scored two goals for the Bruins in this game. He put Boston on top 1-0 after having the puck bounce right in front of him from a shot by Brad Marchand. Johnny Boychuk also picked up an assist on the play. Tampa Bay tied the game when Martin St. Louis beat his college teammate Tim Thomas on a break away. Ryan Malone and Vincent Lecavalier had the assists.

Daniel Paille put the B's back on top after deflecting a shot by Adam McQuaid into the net. Peverley and David Krejci added to the score sheet in the third period. Boston defeats Tampa Bay by a score of 4-1. Marchand and Tyler Seguin each had two assists. Thomas made 25 saves on 26 shots and recorded a .962 save percentage. Benoit Pouliot made his Bruins debut tonight, racking up two shots on goal and two hits.

The Bruins next game will be Monday at 1:00 p.m. at the TD Garden as they welcome in the Colorado Avalanche.

Gold Star: Rich Peverley (2 goals, +2 rating, 5 shots on goal)

Black Star: Nathan Horton...For a first-line winger, he was no where to be found tonight. He really did not try to make himself available for David Krejci to get the puck to him.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Game One: Opening Night

A video montage. A motion picture. A chronological review. Call it what you will. A trip down memory lane of the nearly nine month season the 2011 Boston Bruins had endured was displayed on the Jumbotron prior to face-off tonight. Center ice in the TD Garden at 7:00pm tonight was the place to be. The Stanley Cup Championship banner was raised with the help of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference, Tim Thomas, along with other Bruins legends.

The crowd was loud and the Garden was filled with tears of happiness and joy. What made everything more emotional was three-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Recchi rejoining his team that he retired with. Andrew Ference presented him with the "starter jacket" that the Bruins passed around last season at the end of every game to the player they thought played above and beyond on that night.

An emotional start to the night without a doubt. However, there was still a hockey game to be played.

Before the game it was announced that defenseman Andrew Ference and forward Chris Kelly will share the second alternate captaincy throughout the season. Ference will wear the second "A" at home the first half of the season and Kelly will wear the second "A" on the road the first half. Midway through the season, they will simply switch.

Jordan Caron beat out Benoit Pouliot and started on the third line with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. Adam McQuaid was scratched tonight due to an ongoing illness. Matt Bartkowski replaced him as one of the top six defensemen. Zdeno Chara was not paired with Dennis Seidenberg tonight because, according to head coach Claude Julien, they are "looking to spread around the minutes more this year."

The first period started with Boston coming out very strong. There was a point where the Bruins were out-shooting the Flyers 5-1. Tyler Seguin hit the post and he almost assisted on a goal scored by Chris Kelly. The kid did eventually contribute to the scoring on the power play. He sent a length-of-the-ice pass to Brad Marchand and he slid the puck past Ilya Bryzgalov (PHI) to put the B's on top 1-0.

Before the period ended, the Flyers scored two goals in less than a minute. Claude Giroux scored on the power play and Jakub Voracek scored a goal with traffic in front of Tim Thomas. On Voracek's goal, long time NHL veteran Jaromir Jagr recorded his 1,600th career point. Flyers had a 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes.

Boston had a very sloppy second period. They had the opportunity to score by having two man advantages and yet Philly out-played them. They did not have a clear scoring chance. Zdeno Chara sent Claude Giroux shoulder first into the boards, which triggered a minor altercation. The score remained 2-1 in favor of the Flyers to start the third period.

In the third period, Boston had two more attempts at a power play. They worked the puck around the net much better, but they still could not score. Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin had great chances. The Philly defense and goaltender just got the better of them. The Flyers spoil opening night for the Bruins and their fans. They take the game by a score of 2-1.

Boston will be back in action Saturday night at the TD Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a rematch from last year's Eastern Conference Final.

Gold Star: Brad Marchand (1 goal, 4 shots on goal)...he came out with a huge burst of energy by constantly putting the puck on net. He did have a late penalty called against him in a crucial point in the game, but overall not a bad game.

Black Star: Dennis Seidenberg...he finished with a -1 rating and put six shots on net. The problem was that he had several turnovers and was bumped off the puck often. Not playing with the captain made him feel out of his element.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Preseason Game Six: Finale

Before we get to the final preseason game, just let me share some updated news on injured Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer. The results of his MRI show that he has a sprained MCL and will miss only two to four weeks. He is really lucky that he walked away with only a minor injury, although his injury will all but seal up Matt Bartkowski's new role as the seventh defenseman.

Kampfer has had his share of injuries. Last year when he was with Boston, he suffered a mild concussion and he also suffered a serious knee injury down in the minor leagues. Hopefully this young kid will not be too fragile as his career moves on.

As far as tonight's final preseason game, the Bruins went on to defeat the New York Islanders by a score of 3-2. Dennis Seidenberg scored the winning goal with only eight minutes left to go in the game. Boston actually trailed in the game 2-0 on goals scored by John Tavares and Marty Reasoner. However, the Bruins scored three straight goals to steal the game.
David Krejci and Tyler Seguin scored less than 90 seconds apart from each other in the second period to tie the game. Tim Thomas was productive in goal tonight, stopping 25 shots.

Boston finished the preseason with a record of 4-1-1 and that is good for nine points, which is tied for second in the Eastern Conference. Benoit Pouliot and Tyler Seguin had really strong preseasons. Pouliot has pretty much won the battle over Jordan Caron for a roster spot and Seguin looks like that he can crack the 30 goal mark this year. With Chris Kelly in between, those three could be a very productive third line. Look for veteran forward Chris Clark to push for a roster spot as the next few days elapse.

The preseason has concluded and now the next time the Bruins take the ice for a game will be the real deal. Opening night for the 2011-2012 season will be this Thursday, October 6th at the TD Garden. Boston will face the Philadelphia Flyers on the same night that the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship banner will be lifted into the rafters. It will be a special night.