Saturday, January 19, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bruins 3, Rangers 1
By James Murphy
BOSTON -- Hockey is back in Boston! The Bruins beat the Rangers 3-1 in their season opener at TD Garden before a capacity crowd of 17,365. Boston got goals from Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille and Johnny Boychuk and 20 saves from Tuukka Rask as he started his second tenure as the team's starting netminder.
Here are a few observations:
* Rask vs. Lundqvist: Both Tuukka Rask and Henrik Lundqvist did their jobs in what was billed as a goalies' duel. Unfortunately for "King Henrik," his team didn't exactly help the cause, allowing 34 shots to the Bruins. He turned aside 31 of those, but at the other end Rask turned away 20 of the Rangers' 21 shots. It was a good sign for the Bruins that Rask didn't fall asleep from the lack of action and was solid when tested.
* Lucic silences critics: Milan Lucic has had quite the whirlwind since the lockout ended. The rugged winger had been criticized for not being in game shape at camp and then had his first child on Thursday. But it appears nothing cures stress for a hockey player quite like playing. In the season opener, Lucic looked to be in great form. Yes, he was thrown out of the game with 5:31 left with no explanation given by the referees, but his snarl is back, and that's when he is at his best. Lucic opened the scoring at 14:14 of the first period, taking a nice feed from David Krejci, and played a physical game throughout. If he can continue that, there won't be many questions about his game shape.
* Hamilton makes NHL debut: Dougie Hamilton made his long-awaited debut for the Bruins. While he didn't make you notice him in a good way, he didn't stand out in a bad way, either. Hamilton was steady out there. He looked a bit hesitant at times but he kept it simple. Really, that's all you can ask for from a 19-year-old rookie.
* Depth shows for Bruins: While Lucic and the top line did their part putting up points, the fourth line also chipped in. Paille scored the team's second goal, with Gregory Campbell getting the helper. Paille, Campbell and Shawn Thornton once again showed that they're not on the ice simply for defense and toughness.
* Fight night erupts in second period: Things got pretty physical in the second period and emotions boiled over when there were two fights in a span of three seconds. Thornton and Mike Rupp did the tango at 13:35 of the middle frame and then Campbell and Stu Bickel squared off three ticks later. Both bouts were draws in this scribe's eyes, with plenty of haymakers thrown in the Bickel-Campbell tilt.
* Lines and defense remain the same as in camp: The Bruins' forward lines and defense pairings remained the same for the season opener as they had been all week in training camp:
Milan Lucic -- David Krejci -- Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque -- Chris Kelly -- Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille -- Gregory Campbell -- Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara -- Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg -- Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference -- Adam McQuaid