By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Marchand – Bergeron – Studnicka
DeBrusk – Krejci – Kase
Ritchie – Coyle – Bjork
Frederic – Kuraly – Wagner
Grzelcyk – Miller
Lauzon – McAvoy
Zboril – Carlo
New Jersey’s Lineup
Sharangovich – Hughes – Palmieri
Johnsson – Zacha – Gusev
Wood – Zajac – Boqvist
Kuokkanen – McLeod – Bastian
Murray – Subban
Kulikov – Severson
Smith – Tennyson
The wait is finally over. With a much different-looking team, a new era began for the Bruins. Craig Smith sat this one out with a lower-body injury. Jesper Boqvist took the first penalty of the game for slashing on a scoring chance for Trent Frederic. It only took 6:14 to see the new-look Bruins power play for the first time. Egor Sharangovich found himself in on a shorthanded chance and forced Matt Grzelcyk to take a slashing penalty a minute and two seconds into the Bruins power play, making it a 4-on-4.
Nothing came of the penalties on both sides, and play resumed. Charlie McAvoy went off for interference with 6:41 after sending Sharangovich flying into the boards, but the Bruins killed it off, keeping the game scoreless.
Miles Wood took a late penalty for goaltender interference on a drive towards Tuukka Rask with speed with 2:58 remaining. Brad Marchand made it hurt, scoring the first goal of the season for the Bruins off of a nice cross-crease feed from David Krejci just 38 seconds into the power play. Patrice Bergeron had the secondary assist on the goal.
The Bruins outshot the Devils 16 to four in the first frame, and while it didn’t seem like they were totally dominating at all times, to me at least, it was definitely encouraging to see such a good start from the Bruins. There wasn’t really a lengthy feeling-out process.
Score: 1-0 Boston
Sean Kuraly went off for tripping early on just 2:41 into the period. Luckily the Bruins killed it off, keeping their lead intact. Fast forward a bit later, and McAvoy took his second penalty of the game for hooking with 12:04 to go. Not a whole lot as happening otherwise, just some typical back-and-forth hockey.
The Devils took a too-many-men on the ice penalty at the 9:06 mark. Unfortunately, the Bruins couldn’t get much going on the power play, and play resumed at even strength.
As a whole, the penalty was pretty quiet until Nikita Gusev capitalized on a neutral zone turnover and found Pavel Zacha streaking towards the offensive zone, but Tuukka Rask shut the door. The Bruins outshot the Devils ten to seven in the second period, bringing the total shots to 26 to 11. A big final 20 minutes lied ahead for both teams.
Score: 1-0 Boston
It was more of the same to start the final 20 minutes. A whole lot of waiting for who would score the next goal. Things got interesting when Janne Kuokkanen came out of a defensive zone stance for the Devils withholding penalty on a 2-on-1 from Chris Wagner and Trent Frederic. Despite some decent offensive zone time, the Bruins couldn’t cash in on the power play around the midway point of the period.
Shortly after the conclusion of the power play, Kuraly was forced off the puck at the offensive blue line, Wood snuck behind the defense and made it hurt to tie the game at one. It was 1-1 with 11:09 left. Matters got worse for the Bruins as Krejci went off for hooking with 9:46 to go.
Wood fell victim to his second goaltender interference penalty of the game 59 seconds later, creating a 4-on-4. Nick Ritchie cashed in during the dying seconds of the power play, giving the Bruins the lead with 6:48 to go. Marchand and Grzelcyk had the helpers.
Ty Smith answered 34 seconds later on a series of weird bounces out in front of the Bruins net – a pretty unfortunate way to cough up a lead. The remainder of intermission was scoreless, and overtime followed. The shots were nine to seven in favor of the Bruins in the third period, bringing the total to 35 to 18.
The Bruins held their own in terms of puck possession pretty well until Kyle Palmieri found himself behind all the Bruins on a breakaway, but Rask was equal to the task. Jack Hughes then found himself in on a breakaway, only to be stopped by Rask again. Rask was the undisputed MVP of overtime.
Nikita Gusev – Miss
Charlie Coyle – Miss
Jesper Boqvist – Miss
Ondrej Kase – Miss
Jack Hughes – Miss
Brad Marchand – Goal
Game over. Brad Marchand started it and ended it. The Devils held the advantage in overtime shots at four to two. The shots were 37-22 at the end of things. It wasn’t pretty, but the Bruins pulled out the win to get the season underway. They don’t ask how; they ask how many. But, sometimes, they ask how, so take that with a grain of salt. Next up are the Devils again on Saturday at 1 PM ET. The Bruins are 1-0-0.
Final Score 3-2 Boston