We’re going to pretend that Thursday night’s season opener for the Bruins didn’t happen. Except, it kind of did. The Caps came into Boston and made the B’s look silly. Not even a close game aside from
the first ten minutes when I thought about calling my dad and telling him how good we looked. (Fact: I got the ‘we suck, man’ call after the first Caps goal. Never a good sign.) It’s a shame really, because the Bruins home opener might have been the most hyped ice event at the Garden in years. Second only to the first game between the Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes. A rematch of sorts from their ugly game seven in the 2008-09 playoffs. Enter me, live on level 9 for the game with a running diary of all of the night’s events. The following diary was transcribed live, as it happened.
6:48 PM, pregame: No Junior Seau riding on the Zamboni tonight. Maybe the guy with the Bruins jersey riding shotgun will make some type of comeback pledge similar to Seau’s. The Bruins could always use another scorer.
6:58 PM, pregame: Canes are popular tonight. Round of boos for the starting lineup. No mention of Scott Walker or Aaron Ward, however. Ward is one of four former Bruins in the Hurricanes lineup tonight. The other three? Sergei Samsonov, Andrew Alberts and Boston’s leading blocker from last season, Stephane Yelle. Welcome back?
7:00 PM, pregame: I will never get tired of the opening Bruins montage. No matter how cheesy it gets and how many times Glen Murray was shown in 2006 and 2007 with blood coming down his face. Seriously, keep it coming. It’s already a spectacle, might as well go all out with it.
7:04 PM, pregame: The Recchi-Bergeron-Kobasew line to start with Derek Morris and Zdeno Chara on the blue line. Two different “Let’s Go Bruins!” chants going on in both the left and right side of the ice. Sounds completely in sync and completely chaotic. In fact, the side opposite of the player’s bench sounds more like “Let’s Go Broonz.” Welcome to the Garden.
16:25, 1st period: Boston on their first power play opportunity as Canes defenseman, Joe Corvo gets the gate for hooking.
15:54, 1st period: Marc Savard and the Bruins needed that first goal more than anything tonight. Even better that it was on the special teams unit. 1-0, Boston, one for one on the power play, I’ll take it kindly.
13:17, 1st period: Stephane Yelle levels former teammate Savard and will serve in the box for hooking. The Bruins now have two power play chances within minutes of another. Yeah, welcome back, friend.
7:51, 1st period: Good penalty kill to keep Carolina on the scoreboard. First ‘Rock & Roll’ all night fan montage of the game. KISS is in two days, what else would they play?
7:43, 1st period: I’ve just been told Miley Cyrus is also coming to the Garden soon. There’s my answer. I’m keeping my mouth shut. Canes with a penalty; more undiscplined hockey from our friends in Raleigh.
7:22, 1st period: Three power plays, two goals for Boston. Michael Ryder’s first goal of the season. Morris has assists on both goals tonight.
6:56, 1st period: I can’t keep up with this. Blake Wheeler notches his first goal of the season in a play that was under review upstairs for a possible kick-in. Thanks to Paul Maurice for the early timeout. I could use it too. Phew.
5:24, 1st period: I’m enjoying the play of the fourth line in general, but I’ve been really impressed by Byron Bitz and Steve Begin so far, especially on the penalty kill. Bitz has had two chances tonight shorthanded with Begin setting both plays up. Begin’s speed was rewarded with an assist on Wheeler’s goal.
3:16, 1st period: The Kiss Cam is incredibly awkward on so many levels, especially when the big screen focuses in on two Carolina players, followed by Aaron Ward lining up for the face-off. It got really weird when Boston fans didn’t know whether to boo or cheer the former Bruin and instead, he was just met with an awkward silence.
End of first period: Boston looked fantastic for the entire period. Quite the departure from their lackluster effort against Washington. Boston also had 21 shots in the first period. Boston had 20 the entire game in Thursday’s defeat. The B’s second and third goals came within a 26-second span of one another. The quickest goals scored by Boston since February 7, 2009 against the Flyers.
18:32, 2nd period: Another hooking penalty against Carolina; three of their four trips to the box have been for this infraction.
16:41, 2nd period: Chad LaRose just took down Chara on an open ice hit. The most impressive feat of the game for the Hurricanes as they kill of their fourth penalty of the night.
13:49, 2nd period: Begin takes down Aaron Ward behind the Carolina goal. This guy continues to impress me tonight. Bruins kill off another penalty, perfect on the night.
13:11, 2nd period: First TV timeout of the 2nd period means the dedication of the home announcer’s booth to Fred Cusick. “Score, Cam Neely!” are the three words that will always remind me of my childhood watching the Bruins on NESN. Great standing ovation from the fans and stick tribute by the players preceded by clips of famous Cusick calls on the Garden HDX. Really great moment to see in person.
11:44, 2nd period: Slower start for the Bruins to begin the 2nd period. First, Matt Hunwick for tripping and now Blake Wheeler for hooking.
9:23, 2nd period: Marco Sturm just opened the flood gates for the Bruins on his off-wing on a wraparound. Bruins by four, Cam Ward is done for the night. Backup Michael Leighton will mind the net for the rest of the night.
9:20, 2nd period: I spoke with a friend about Sturm earlier today in regards to him being a left-handed shot playing on the right side. Neither of us liked the idea, especially since Savard would be the one feeding him the puck. That last goal seemed to work alright.
7:16, 2nd period: The Bruins are spreading the points around on the ice tonight. Wideman with the power play goal from Bergeron and Recchi. Three for five on the power play tonight. This is a completely different team than whoever showed up on Thursday.
4:39, 2nd period: Of course Scott Walker tips in the first goal of the night for Carolina. Of course. Congratulations, universe, you win.
2:40, 2nd period: Tim Gleason talks a good game from a 4 goal deficit. His after the whistle shove at David Krejci gets a prompt response from both Morris and Chara. Gleason skated away after being refrained by an official. Chara just smiled and skated to the faceoff.
1:37, 2nd period: Shawn Thornton, why not? 6-1, Bruins on a gorgeous garbage goal fed to him by Steve Begin.
:36.3, 2nd period: Milan Lucic just introduced himself to Jay Harrison in a short-lived duel followed by a 10-man pile up on Savard and Andrew Alberts. Didn’t see Aaron Ward anywhere for the Hurricanes. Hello, conspiracy theories.
0:00, 2nd period: Ice girls are on the ice with their t-shirt tossers. Can they shoot one all the way up to the press box? I’m thinking yes, I’m wide open up top. The Bruins continue to look solid while the Hurricanes are still struggling to find the magic that led them to the postseason last year. First a 2-0 loss handed to them by the Flyers, now, down 6-1 to the Bruins. Carolina is definitely a better team than this.
19:39, 3rd period: Eric Staal is back on the ice for Carolina after receiving a monstrous 25 stitches. Good to see. He’s a great skater and all-around good guy too. Both penalty boxes are crowded with five skaters in each. Hurricanes just added an extra man, Staal, for roughing. The home and visiting benches look empty.
17:33, 3rd period: Two for two on too many men penalties for Boston. Hurricanes capitalize with Staal scoring his first goal of the season upon exiting the penalty box. 6-2, Boston.
16:23, 3rd period: Walker goes down after taking a high stick to the face from Morris. He’ll serve an extra minor for the infraction.
14:53, 3rd period: Bergeron and Recchi just went on a shorthanded break reminscent of the April 9, 2009 game against Montreal (the last Boston home game of the season) where Recchi scored the game winner in overtime. To this day, one of, if not the best, professional hockey games I’ve seen in person.
12:40, 3rd period: Sloppy period all around by Boston with the exception of the defensive work by Matt Hunwick and David Krejci in the Boston zone. The B’s definitely got comfortable with their lead. Seems like most of the period has been a 4-on-4 contest.
11:31, 3rd period: Seven goals, all by seven different Bruin skaters as Hunwick gets the latest tally. The Bruins individual player’s points might not be the top in the league, but tonight is showing fans that this will be a team effort more than anything else. Out of every stat you’ll see or read about tonight, this will be the most impressive.
10:26, 3rd period: Shawn Thornton just pummeled Andrew Alberts. A bit of vengeance from that pile-up earlier on Savard and Sturm.
4:52, 3rd period: Any video where Christopher Walken dances is a winning segment for me.
4:32, 3rd period. Another undisciplined penalty, this time from Mark Stuart. Double minor for high sticking. Though I am making a big deal about Carolina’s penalties, Boston has got to stop making a habit of accumulating minutes in the box. This many in one game, even if they are fights, is still too high.
2:55, 3rd period. The Big, Bad, Bruins really are back. Wideman laid out Cole as he was breaking into Boston’s zone. Cole had to be helped into the locker room. Upon first glance, the hit looked clean but after seeing the replay, it appeared to be a leg-on-leg collision. The Hurricanes are getting beat up. Harrison, Staal (though from a teammate), Alberts and now Cole will all leave Boston a little more battered than how they came in.
0:00, 3rd period: As per every winning game, “Dirty Water” blares over the loud speakers as the Bruins take game one of their new rivalry with the Hurricanes. An overall stellar game for Boston even with a total of ten penalties (48 minutes total in the box including all fights) and many hammering fights on both ends. The B’s capitalized on special teams by scoring four times on eight power plays and killing off all but one of the ten penalties. The 16,592 fans in attendance got a glimpse of the Boston club that everyone was talking about in the preseason. The team that could score, hit, defend and knock out any opponent senseless in a good ol’ fashioned brawl.
The Bruins’ slogan for the season is “The Big Bad Bruins are Back.” This wasn’t true on Thursday night against the Capitals but the phrase captured tonight’s game perfectly. The B’s seemed to edge any doubts on their aggression, if not for only tonight. The Bruins still have another 80 games left to play and unfortunately for B’s fans, not all of them can be against a team that ousted Boston in the overtime period of a playoff game 7.