Boston, MA – TD Garden‘s opening night showed off the renovations that Bruins ownership implemented over the off-season as part of a $100 million expansion of the arena and it’s footprint. It also showed off the on ice product as well. That product, a slightly tweaked Bruins team from this past June, is having it’s usual results. The Bruins rode Tuukka Rask and a first period Brad Marchand goal to a shutout victory over the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Money well spent for the Jacobs family and Delaware North.
After a four game road-trip to open the season, the Bruins wasted little time in reacclimating themselves to the somewhat familiar confines. Marchand’s fourth goal of the season at 3:33 gave the team all they would need for the win. Marchand carried the puck into the Devils zone, but was hounded by defenseman PK Subban along the boards, Marchand pivoted away from the defender back to center and fired a wrist shot towards the net that was deflected past Cory Schneider.
The Bruins built on their lead at 11:22 when some tic tac toe passing off a face-off win in the Devils zone led to Joakim Nordstrom‘s first goal of the young season. Captain Zdeno Chara‘s shot from the blue line was blocked, the puck fell to Sean Kuraly at the top of the left circle, and he dished to Chris Wagner through the legs of New Jersey’s Travis Zajac. Wagner then fed Nordstrom who banged it past Schneider.
The Devils certainly had ample scoring opportunities throughout the game. It was their misfortune that Rask had his “A Game” tonight. Forward Nikita Gusev had a chance that Rask stonewalled during a Devils power play, with Kuraly off for Hooking. The Bruins penalty kill had more chances than the New Jersey power play did on Kuraly’s penalty. Marchand and Bergeron threatened on a two on one, then Marchand blocked a Subban slapshot and raced in alone on Schneider who turned the shot away.
In the second period a Brandon Carlo turnover in front of Rask, led to the goalie making a double save on a leg-stretch to his right post on chances by the first overall pick in June’s draft Jack Hughes and then Taylor Hall, a number one overall himself back in 2010. This led to a Devils power play as Carlo was called for Hooking. The Bruins kill seemed to toy with the Devils power play at times as, again, Marchand and Bergeron controlled play in the New Jersey zone. When the Devils did threaten, as they did when Hughes, then Jesper Bratt each had chances on goal, but Rask was up to the task.
The Bruins had a power play at 18:59 when Kyle Palmieri was sent to the box for Tripping. As time wound down in the middle frame Bergeron knocked home a Marchand shot that rebounded out past a scrum in the crease giving the Bruins a commanding 3-0 lead.
“I thought our start was excellent,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “We finished really well. In between we had some moments where we could have been better. We’re still working on our game. That’s when Tuukka really stepped up. That’s when he should get the credit for winning a game like this. I thought that’s where he earned his paycheck tonight. We broke down a lot there trying to break pucks out, that’s some lose play and he was really good.”
“They came out with a lot of energy,” said Devils coach John Hynes about the Bruins. “I thought that coming into a building like this on the home opener I thought we weathered the storm a little bit, I obviously didn’t like the score at the end of the first but as the game continued to go on we played pretty well.”
Hynes was high on his team’s game but gave a lot of props to Rask for his effort against the Devils. “I thought we managed the puck well, we were hard on the puck, we moved it low to high, we had a shot mentality. We got to the net. I know we had, I know for sure, four grade A chances right inside, right in front of the goalie. The most prime time area chances but we we had them I thought Rask played well and made some big saves, made some big saves on our power play.”
The Devils play next on Monday at home against Florida at 1:00 pm. While the Bruins continue their homestand at the same time against the Anaheim Ducks in a battle of 4-1 teams.