Just a fantastic way to start the new home season. Bobby Orr wheeling NINETY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Milt Schmidt out to center ice to drop the puck for the ceremonial face-off; 50 and 80 years ago, respectively, they each joined the NHL. Two of the biggest living legends of the sport at the same time was great stuff for all involved. (Look at Andy Greene’s shit-eating grin.) And that would be the most excitement for awhile.
Even though Lou, Jacques, Scott, and Marty are long gone, the New Jersey Devils are still more boring than a Merchant Ivory production. Their games vs. the Bruins the last few years have been nap-inducing and last night’s first two periods were no exception. Though there were a couple chances for each team (and no shortage of shots), this wasn’t one that was going to be ‘saved to DVR’.
Fortunately, fans were rewarded for their patience in the third period. Kyle Palmieri’s left point shot caught Brandon Carlo’s skate en route to the net area, changed direction, and fooled Tuukka Rask to make it 1-0. But 5:33 later, the magma-hot Brad Marchand beat Cory Schneider with a snappa through Greene’s legs that rose over the goalie’s right shoulder and woke the joint up. Just a perfect goal.
Just when it appeared OT was imminent, Marchand again displayed strong stick work in protecting the puck until Patrice Bergeron went into an open area in the high slot.
No OT necessary. With 1:15 left, Bergeron got his first of the year in his first game back from missing the start of the season. Naturally, it won the game.
But seriously, lets talk about Marchand. He tallied one of each on the night and was again a dynamo out there. He now leads the NHL in scoring with 3-6–9 in 4 games. His 2.25 points per game average leads the league by a full quarter goal. He’s been just unreal since the season started.
Tuukka Rask was excellent once again, giving up just the deflected goal on 29 shots and is looking much more like the Rask of old so far (though I don’t like him apparently wincing on his knees for the 2nd time in three games).
A few more buds for your season opening bowl…
*David Pastrnak, who has been much better so far this season, did some nice work along the wall to keep the play alive on the GWG. His assist on the goal has him third in the league with 4-3–7 totals.
*David Backes was a force in his first Garden game as a Bruin. He threw the body around all night and managed 6 shots on goal, just missing on a goal. He was also whistled for a bullshit roughing call for being stronger than Taylor Hall (I’ll never get used to Hall in the Puddy duds). But he and David Krejci will have chemistry soon enough.
*Speaking of Krejci, he has a mere assist in four games. Yeah, I know he hasn’t been on the ice for a GA and has good possession numbers. But he makes fucking seven and a quarter—he needs to put some points up. They should come in due time with Backes.
*Brandon Carlo continues to impress. The rookie was on the ice in the waning seconds, defending a one-goal lead and Tuukka’s crease. Sure, he’s out there with Chara but the kid has looked like a solid vet at times.
*This is outstanding…
*Shoutout to Jags for his 750th goal last night. Only two guys have ever done it before him. Amazing career.
*And shoutout to Daniel Winnik who returned to the game after losing a chunk of his ear to a slap shot.