Cup champs begin defense -- sort of
September, 21, 2011
By James Murphy | ESPNBoston.com
OTTAWA -- The Bruins played their first game since walking off with the Stanley Cup on June 15 in Vancouver with the Stanley Cup. Of course, with this being a preseason game, the significance was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum but nonetheless hockey is officially back.
The defending Stanley Cup champions were beaten by the Senators 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Mika Zibanejad 3:17 into the extra frame. Lane MacDermid scored the lone Bruins goal and Brian Lee had the other Senators goal.
"Tuukka Time" to start preseason. Last Saturday, Bruins coach Claude Julien told the media that Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask would see an increased workload this season to help spell Tim Thomas, who played in 82 games (including playoffs) last season. Julien put Rask, who played in 29 games, right to work Wednesday, giving him the start in the preseason opener.
Rask looked solid, making 34 saves including two beauties, one on Lee on a 3-on-1 5:55 into the second period, the other a glove save on Mark Parrish with just under seven minutes left in the middle stanza. Although the overtime winner creeped through his legs, Rask was on his game overall.
Grind line works hard. In a lineup mixed with regulars and roster hopefuls, it was the grind line of MacDermid, Chris Kelly and Shawn Thornton that stood out the most. MacDermid, a rookie drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, scored 7:01 into the second period, knocking in the rebound of a Thornton shot. The line as a whole hustled as expected but also created some offense with seven shots on net. If MacDermid continues to play like that, he will at least be worth a look as an early call-up from Providence. Here’s the rest of the Bruins lineup:
Benoit Pouliot-Patrice Bergeron-Jamie Tardif(
Jordan Caron-Tyler Seguin-Jamie Arniel(
Max Sauve-Ryan Spooner-Chris Clark
Lane MacDermid-Chris Kelly-Shawn Thornton
Andrew Ference-Colby Cohen
Matt Bartkowski-Adam McQuaid(
David Warsofsky-Dougie Hamilton
Power play still missing. The Bruins' power play was 0-for-4 Wednesday night and while that must be taken with a grain of salt, the man-advantage looked exactly like the one that went just 10-for-88 (14 percent) in 25 playoff games but still won the Stanley Cup. They may have been able to win the Cup in spite of that anemic power play, but they will want to improve last season's success rate of 16.4 percent, 20th in the NHL. Defensemen Andrew Ference and Matt Bartkowski saw a lot of time as a power-play pairing while newcomer Benoit Pouliot was parked in front as the Bruins tried to utilize his 6-foot=3, 200-pound frame.
Ference and Kelly sporting ‘A’. With Mark Recchi retired, one of the hot topics in camp has been who will wear the ‘A’ he left behind as alternate captain. On Wednesday, it was Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly along with regular Patrice Bergeron. Both Kelly and Ference would be worthy alternate captains. Many in the Bruins’ dressing room were very impressed with Kelly’s leadership skills during the playoffs after having come to the Bruins at the trade deadline in February.
Chara sits out but skates in practice. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who suffered a contusion on his leg from an errant clearing shot Monday, sat out the preseason opener but skated in practice Wednesday morning. Chara also missed Tuesday’s scrimmage in Providence. He is day-to-day.