WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Dany Sabourin, who is scheduled to make his preseason debut in a Boston Bruins sweater Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, is a veteran of 57 NHL appearances -- but there's one game he calls his career highlight so far.
On Jan. 19, 2008, Sabourin, a native of Val d'Or, Quebec, shut out the Montreal Canadiens in front of a pack of family and friends. So while the free-agent signee has yet to show Bruins backers what he can do, Sabourin's already endeared himself to throngs of people who consider their favorite teams to be the Bruins and whoever beats the Habs.
"Maybe that's one of the reasons (they signed me)," Sabourin joked after a pregame skate at Ristuccia Arena.
Sabourin watched from the bench as 22-year-old Tuukka Rask, his direct competition for the No. 2 goaltender position, beat the New York Rangers Monday night in the preseason opener. Now it's Sabourin's turn to try to hold serve and keep the heat on the Bruins' brass to make a hard decision when the time comes to cut down.
"I just want to do my best, do a good first impression. I can't wait. I'm looking forward to it," said Sabourin.
Earning his way onto the roster of a team that's widely believed to be among the best in the NHL would go a long way toward making up for Sabourin's lost opportunity of last season. After competing in 19 games and earning six wins for the eventual Cup-champion Penguins, Sabourin was dealt to Edmonton in January and then demoted to the American Hockey League.
In the spring, Sabourin had to watch his former teammates, and a number of good friends, hoist the Cup without him.
"It was kind of tough to watch knowing you've been there 1½ years with them and not getting a chance to be a part of it. That doesn't come every year. So that was tough," he explained. "But at the same time, everything happens for a reason, so that's how I took it and that was the best of me."
Unlike teams in other sports that do something to honor players that contributed to their success but left the team before the ultimate goal was achieved (remember the '04 Red Sox giving rings to practically everyone), Cup-winning hockey clubs do not acknowledge guys like Sabourin.
"So I guess I'll have to just win my own," he said.
That quest restarts tonight.
Head coach Claude Julien confirmed that the Bruins came out of their preseason win over the Rangers injury-free.
"If we had to use the same lineup tonight, we could," he said.
As for defenseman Andrew Ference, who is still recovering from offseason groin surgery, and center Marc Savard (minor knee issue), neither is in the lineup for tonight. So two games in they'll have not appeared in preseason action.
"We're just bringing them along slowly," said Julien, who added that both could get into action Saturday when the Bruins play their first home exhibition game.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. He has been on the Bruins beat since the lockout for numerous publications and has been covering the Boston sports scene for a decade. Send any questions for Matt to his mailbag and he might answer them in his Bruins mailbag.