So, this is my first preseason as a hockey fan (cue the “awww” here) and I am enjoying seeing what the Bs are doing. It’s too bad I couldn’t see more of them on TV or on reputable online sources (I don’t mess with some of those dodgy sites; hey, I need this computer for work, too, so it’s gotta be clean and healthy!), but that’s a sport-wide problem, not just a Bruins fan problem. However, I was able to read boxscores and reports from the games, enough to make this report.
September 21 vs. Ottawa: 2-1 Ottawa, OT
The only Bruins preseason game to be shown on NHL Network. Tuukka Rask managed to keep the door shut 34 times, although when he let in the overtime goal by 2011 rookie Mika Zibanejad, he proceeded to roll around in frustration like a turtle. Lane McDermid scored Boston’s lone goal. Some of the big bad Bruins were missing–Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci among them–which could explain the comparably low score. Later on on Twitter, Tyler Seguin said that he had been feeling a little sick during the game as well. This was really a time for newer guys to shine: Matt Bartkowski had the highest time on ice (25 and a half minutes), followed by 2011 rookie Dougie Hamilton, David Warsofsky and Colby Cohen all having about 20 minutes each.
September 23 vs. Islanders: 6-3 Boston
Okay, let’s face it, this game was perhaps a little unfair on the other end. The Islanders were resting up some of their best talent for a game the following evening, so they sent out a lot of Bridgeport Sound Tigers and rookies against the defending Stanley Cup champions, including the man who won All of the Awards between the pipes. Still, what a game! Each of Boston’s goals was scored by someone different (David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Dennis Seidenberg, Brad Marchand, Johnny Boychuk and Rich Peverley), including two power play goals (Krejci’s and Seidenberg’s) and one unassisted (Peverley’s), showing the range of talent on the Bs. There weren’t many penalties, but the most peculiar one has to be at the end of the third, when Isles rookie Justin DiBenedetto took on…Krejci, a guy not known for his fighting prowess. To date, he’s fought only five times, including that most recent tussle, according to HockeyFights. Hearing on Twitter that Krejface had gotten a five-minute major for fighting was quite unusual.
September 25 vs. Montreal: 7-3 Boston
Neither team had home ice advantage here, although maybe Brad Marchand felt a little spirited boost from playing in his hometown of Halifax. For this game, the Bs used goalie Anton Khudobin, so for those taking note of these sorts of things (just me? Well, I do like goalies), they’ve used a different netminder in each game so far. Boston also found itself some power play goals, which were elusive in the playoffs. Marchand obviously felt a boost: he scored on the power play, as did Joe Corvo. There were four unassisted Boston goals and one shorthanded offering from Zdeno Chara. Basically it was just a Bruins scoring blowout.
Again some of the Big Bads sat out: this time Bergeron, Krejci and Lucic didn’t play, nor did Peverley. I know Bergeron probably sat this one, and the other Montreal matchup, out because he went up to Acadie-Bathurst and witness his major junior team retire his number. Congrats, Bergy!
September 26 vs. Montreal: 2-1 Boston
This game was scoreless in the first and then Michael Cammalleri made it 1-0 Habs towards the end of second, but the Bs weren’t going to leave that goal unanswered. Last year’s rookie extraordinaire Tyler Seguin scored, as did newbie Chris Clark (so new he doesn’t yet have a profile page on the Bruins’ website). Meanwhile, at both ends of the ice, top-tier goaltending talent is probably what kept this game from being even more lopsided in either team’s favor: Boston used Tuukka Rask again (recall his stellar 1.97 GAA in 2009-10), while Montreal went with Carey Price. It may have been a good idea to sit out Chara from this game, considering it was in Montreal and he is booed roundly every time he has possession in the Bell Centre.
September 29 vs. Ottawa: 2-1 Ottawa
Oh look, another 2-1 Senators victory! Except this one was in regulation. It started with Milan Lucic getting a kneeing penalty only 17 seconds into the game, but Looch made up for it by scoring the Bs’ only goal in this outing about 10 minutes later, assisted by both his linemates. This game was fairly short on penalties but long on shots on goal–Boston had 40 compared to Ottawa’s 20. Tim Thomas still did a good job in net, though, shutting the door when other goalies might’ve left it open. Since preseason is coming to an end, the lineup was starting to look a little more stable and familiar. New kids Benoit Pouliot and Chris Clark were both on the ice for about ten minutes, surely trying to make a good impression. Reports from friends at the game stated that some of the attendees started booing at the end of it. Really? It’s just preseason. The points don’t count. The team’s still learning to gel. Give them time and faith.
October 1 vs. Islanders: 3-2 Boston
Preseason for the Bs ended in Bridgeport, home of the Islanders’ AHL team, with a hard-fought victory that stands in stark comparison to their last showing against NYI. Dennis Seidenberg, who scored with 8 minutes left in the game, admitted to the media that he thought the team was a little sloppy, but there’s time to learn lessons from preseason! The Islanders swapped out Al Montoya for Evgeni Nabokov in net, which proved to be a good move–for the Bruins, since all three goals were scored on him. Meanwhile Tim Thomas played the entire game. David Krejci scored unassisted, Tyler Seguin added another one less than a minute later and of course Seidenberg scored too.
All in all, not a bad preseason at all. A 4-1-1 record isn’t terrible and a lot of guys got to stretch their legs and try to prove themselves. (Some of them, like Sauve and McDermid, have been reassigned to Providence or returned to their junior clubs.) Still, it’s been great! Plus, since the team didn’t need to make a lot of post-Cup changes, that portends well for this season.