This was one of the most anticipated off-seasons for the Boston Bruins in quite some time.
The feeling around the city was that once the organization handled some of the internal issues with the team, the fans were under the assumption that we may be in for a roller coaster of emotions heading into a new hockey year.
You know what they say about assumptions, right?
Anyway, this was covered in great extent during the summer months. However, this is just a brief recap. With Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Nathan Horton, and Andrew Ference all playing for new teams this season, the Bruins had to recapture their identity. Based on the preseason, they succeeded.
Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson, and Reilly Smith are the new forwards that will wear the Black and Gold while the strength of this Bruins team lies within their young defensive core. Also, Chad Johnson was brought in to compete for the backup goaltending job and after a grueling training camp battling Niklas Svedberg, he won the right to back up Tuukka Rask.
The new additions gelled perfectly with the core of the team as they compiled a 6-1-0 record during the preseason. The young "bubble" skaters played so well that it was tough to see most of them get sent back to their junior teams or back down to Providence, but that is the nature of the business.
After all of the remaining roster cuts and final practices, the Bruins were ready to begin the regular season. They opened up their 82-game campaign at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team who has dawned a refreshed look themselves.
Even though they still have the services of Steven Stamkos, they lost Vincent Lecavalier to the Philadelphia Flyers via free agency. This may be a younger team as a result, but the Lightning are a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference this season.
Prior to the game, it was announced that David Krejci would wear the third "A" this season, carrying on that tradition left behind by Ference. Also, Carl Soderberg will begin the season on injured reserve due to an ankle ailment. He will be replaced by Jordan Caron.
What a game this turned out to be at the Garden. The Bruins defended their home ice and knocked off the Lightning by a final score of 3-1. Chris Kelly, Milan Lucic, and Patrice Bergeron netted the goals for Boston. Rask looked absolutely solid in net, stopping 32 shots.
In the game, there was a handful of questionable hits by Tampa Bay. Every time, the Bruins were there to defend their teammates. That is a great thing to see this early in the season.
They will remain at home on Saturday night when they take on the Detroit Red Wings.
*Dennis Seidenberg received a lucrative contract extension prior to puck-drop. The deal is for four years and it is worth approximately $16 million. This was a guy that they needed to lock up and upper management did just that.
Gold Star: Tuukka Rask: 32 saves on 33 shots, 1 goal allowed, .970 save percentage....Why not acknowledge the solid play of the new franchise goaltender?
Black Star: Daniel Paille...Although he spent most of his ice time on the penalty kill, he could not utilize his speed at all during this game.