While many expected the Boston Bruins to be a little rusty heading into Tuesday’s Black and Gold intersquad scrimmage with the Providence Bruins at the TD Garden, very few expected the Baby B’s to come away with a 7-5 victory.
The sounds of that alone are very alarming for the big club before they enter Saturday’s season opener with the New York Rangers. But there are a few positives to also take out of this exhibition.
For starters, Chris Bourque continued to state his clause of making the 20-man roster on opening night with a goal and two assists. Providence’s leading scorer looked very strong with the puck and seemed to have fit in quite nicely with fellow linemates Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, who also had a goal.
Boruque certainly had a little advantage compared to the rest of his squad having fresh legs and all. But still, despite the performance, the end result was far from ideal.
“It felt good to get on the score sheet, but the main thing is winning,” Bourque said. “Obviously it’s an exhibition game and not worth two points, but you always want to win.”
More after the jump including postgame video.
Once again, Bourque’s performance caught the eye of coach Claude Julien.
“I thought Chris had a good game,” he said. “Here’s a guy who had been playing since October in North America and I thought he played well and that line [with Kelly and Peverley] did some good things,”
Bourque was also instrumental in Dennis Seidenberg’s power play goal at 9:19 of the third period that tied the game pulled Boston within one at 5-4. But while Seidenberg connected that time, the Bruins failed on the other two attempts going 1-for-3 on the night.
It’s no secret that the power play has been the Bruins Achilles heel the last few seasons. And with the units still trying to gain some chemistry, it still might be a work in progress as seen with the first two opportunities on the man advantage, both of which came during the second period.
“The first two [power plays] I thought we got outworked, so we never got a chance to get into our set. And the last one, we finally got into our set and we got rewarded with it,” Julien said.
“The last one was better, but the first two weren’t very good at all. We didn’t win the battles, they outworked us, they were getting the pucks to the corners and along the boards. And I think that’s the biggest thing I addressed with the guys after the second period, that this is what happened last year and it’s not going to happen this year. If we’re going to be outworked on the power play, we shouldn’t expect any success from it.”
Tuesday certainly wasn’t going to be a walk in the park for the Bruins and it was far from it. Several Bruins committed uncharacteristic turnovers in their own end – including the line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin – and the opportunistic Baby B’s made them pay. That combined with sluggish goaltending from Tuukka Rask (18 saves on 25 shots) and Anton Khudobin (28 saves on 33 shots), made for a rough night for the big club.
“We had a lot of turnovers that our team doesn’t normally do, and I’m sure [it was] on the other side,” said Marchand. “But we’ve been off for a long time and we’re trying to get back into it. So we are a little rusty, but we’ll still have work to do.”
With several of their members hoping to make it to Boston one day, including Max Sauve (two goals, one assist) the P-Bruins took advantage of the opportunity against a perennial Eastern Conference contender. But the end result could very well be beneficial for both sides.
“I hope it helps them out and hopefully we did them a favor too,” said Julien. “They probably did us a favor by beating us, and, you know, giving us that jolt moving forward. But at the same time, I hope we gave them a positive jolt and they can feel pretty good about themselves.
The biggest takeaway for the Bruins is there is plenty of work to do before opening night. Some of the sloppiness could still be fixed during the next three days of practices in Wilmington, but they’ll still have their work cut out for them.
“It was good to get a 60-minute game under our belts before the real games, but we’re not happy with the result obviously,” said Rask. “I think it was sloppy throughout for all of us, but rather take that now than Saturday, right?”