The Boston Bruins had their first tune-up for the regular season Tuesday night, squaring off against their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, at TD Garden. Black and gold nation, craving NHL hockey after a dreaded CBA lockout, got their first glimpse of gameplay in this intersquad scrimmage.
Midway through the first period, Providence had the games first power-play, after Rich Peverley received a two-minute minor for hooking. Shortly after, Brad Marchand was whistled for a delay of game infraction, giving Providence the five-on-three advantage.
The Bruins killed off one of the penalties, but tired legs proved costly as Providence scored with just second’s left on the special teams chance. Long time NHL vet Jay Pandolfo, playing to earn a spot on Boston’s third line, scored the goal for Providence; Max Sauve and Craig Cunningham recorded the assists.
Nathan Horton had many scoring chances to begin the second period, an encouraging sign as the big winger returned to gameplay after suffering from post-concussion symptoms.
Chris Bourque, who had a great first period playing on Boston’s third line, tied the game at one with a slapshot goal, blasting the puck through Providence goaltender Anton Khudobin; Dennis Seidenberg recorded the lone assist.
Two quick goals followed, one by Sauve for Providence, and then a beauty of a wrist-shot by Marchand to tie the score at two. Marchand had trouble controlling the puck at times throughout the game, but his shot looked as wicked as ever.
Providence quickly regained the lead just two minutes into the third period, as Sauve carried the puck through the offensive zone, and dangled around Boston netminder Tuukka Rask for the easy goal. The baby Bruins added another one right after, as a deflected shot from the point hit off Marchand and rolled past Rask.
Rask, who enters the season as Boston’s number one net-minder, looked a little shaky in the scrimmage, but that’s expected with extended time off.
The Bruins certainly looked like a team coming out of a lockout, with rust showing, but cant look too far into what was an intersquad scrimmage for the organization. Providence ended up winning the game, defeating their father club seven to five.
The first real test comes Saturday night, when the Bruins play the New York Rangers, a team who many experts pick to win the Stanley cup; should definitely be an exciting season opener at TD Garden this weekend.
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