Just a few hours prior to the Prague Premiere game, the Boston Bruins announced they had re-signed captain Zdeno Chara to a 7-year extension. With the re-signing of Patrice Bergeron to a 3-year deal yesterday, the Bruins have kept busy at the start of the season getting their top notch players under wraps.
But contract negotiations and investments in their future wasn’t what it took to be in their game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.
Phoenix took a lot of bad penalties at the start of the game, but that didn’t stop them from dominating the scoreboard throughout the first two periods. Boston had difficulties catching a lucky break.
At 7:59 in the first period, a Czech ended up livening up O2 Arena. Radim Vrbata, who hails from Mlada Boleslav, batted one in mid-air, catching Tuukka Rask with his back to him, giving Phoenix the first goal of the night.
In the second period, Taylor Pyatt (1:58), Scottie Upshall (unassisted) (15:02) and Eric Belanger PPG (19:43) put the Bruins in a 4-0 hole. Boston couldn’t catch a break and remained scoreless through the first 40 minutes.
In the final act, the Bruins finally found some lucky chances thanks to their newest member of the club, Nathan Horton. He scored the only two goals of the game for Boston at 3:33 and 9:03 on the power play.
“It’s good,” Horton said of what he thought of his first game. “We didn’t start the way we wanted to. We didn’t even play the kind of way we wanted to. It was a tough start. We’ve got to get better and hopefully by tomorrow.”
Vrbata sealed the scoring for Phoenix at 18:13, giving the Coyotes a 5-2 win over the Bruins.
“I didn’t like the way we started in the third period,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said after the game. “The reality is, we gave up way too many chances.”
“It’s our work ethic,” Horton said of what he thought the Bruins needed to change by tomorrow. “Getting pucks in the net is a big thing…rebounds…you’re not going to score if you don’t shoot the puck. We want to do a little bit more.”
“To get that first one was huge for obvious reasons,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan said after the win. “Coming over here, you want to make sure you find a way to get that first one.”
But with a first win, comes the critique of what’s right and what’s wrong in the premiere game of the season.
“There’s areas where we are good,” Doan said. “We’ve got a lot of contributions from a lot of different guys, but we have got a lot of room to improve. We can’t take that many penalties. We can’t give up that many shots. In that third period, we weren’t as near as tight as we wanted to be.”
Even though there’s room for improvement in any start to any team’s season, the Coyotes’ win was a good one for the team.
Tomorrow is Doan’s 34th birthday when the Coyotes play the Bruins in the second match in Prague. At first, he didn’t realize what tomorrow was.
“I’ll make sure that tomorrow, we’ll be a little bit better than we were today,” he said about the big day, not realizing that tomorrow’s game was on his birthday. When he realized that tomorrow was his birthday, he laughed, realizing his blunder in the previous statement. I forgot. I kind of lost track of the days being over here. I don’t know which day’s which. It just means that it will be nice [if we win]. I’ll take it if they do.”
There will be no birthday celebration for Doan in Prague tonight though. With a 4 p.m. start tomorrow, the team will be resting to prepare for game two in Prague.
“We’ll enjoy the fact that we won this one,” he said.