With a full third of new faces on the forward lines, instant chemistry wasn’t particularly expected of the Bs given their minimal time spent together. But despite some choppy offensive play, Boston knocked off Tampa Bay, 3-1, with goals from Chris Kelly (short-handed penalty shot), Milan Lucic (a snipe from the left circle), and Patrice Bergeron (an unassisted Middletonian shortie).
The Bs came out with energy though lacked cohesiveness as Tampa had the early advantage in opportunities, outshooting the home team 15-6 after one. Ironically, it was three guys who never played together in a regulation game that had the best chances and great hustle. Kelly, Jordan Caron, and Reilly Smith made for a pretty good third line and Caron in particular gave the coaches something to think about when Carl Soderberg is healthy enough to return to the line-up. He got absolutely screwed out of a goal that would’ve put the Bs up 2-0 when the ref inexplicably waved it off despite the puck being in the crease well before Caron. Instead, the Bolts would knot things up shortly after.
But the rest of the forwards got going as the game went on to build a two-goal lead just over four minutes into the third. The Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson line got a few opportunities in the third and the Swede got his nose in the dirty areas a few times. Tuukka Rask picked up where he left off in June, making 33 saves on 34 shots, including several timely ones. I don’t think he’ll be a worry once all year. Overall, a nice start to the new campaign as the team works out it’s kinks.
A few more buds for your Red Sox playoff bowl…
*As seen above, Jarome Iginla endeared himself to the Garden faithful with his 2nd period scrap vs. big defenseman Radko Kudas. Kudas rocked Iginla when he reached for a Lucic buddy pass (that #17 would later apologize for). The new Bruin ended the night with two shots, three hits, and a block in 15:28 of ice time.
*David Krejci tallied the lone assist on the Bs three goals, as the Bs tallied two unassisted shorthanders. His feed set up Lucic’s laser.
*The Bs had a 54-46 advantage at the dot with Kelly’s 12 out of 17 faceoff wins leading the way (71%). They also killed off all five TB power plays including two 5-on-3 situations. The Bs went 0/3 on their PPs.
*Very smart move by Chiarelli to lock up the durable and tough-as-nails Dennis Seidenberg with a four-year extension worth $16M that will keep him here through the ’17-’18 season. A handful of teams were preparing to offer him more money if he ever got to UFA status. But the Bs wanted to keep the reliable workhorse and he didn’t want to leave Boston. So it was just a matter of hammering out a contract. The Bs get a top 4 (and playoff top 2) D-man for what may become a great bargain if the cap goes way up. And the German gets stability, a solid payday, and another few years to chase Cup #2. After a somewhat vagabond start to his career, he has settled in comfortably here and become a fan favorite with his hard but honest style of play.