The night was a reflection of a championship season. The game seemed anticlimactic due to the anticipation of the banner raising. Yes, last night was the night in which the Boston Bruins raised their 2011 Stanley Cup Championship banner to the rafters. It would be a night enshrined in Boston sports and in NHL history.
Oh, and by the way, they had a game to play. They were taking on the rival Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers, the team that had destroyed their season two years ago and the team that the Bruins swept in last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. These teams have a long history of hatred. It was only fitting that it would be they who met head-to-head on this banner night.
Back to the game, as always with opening games, this one was interesting and there is still a lot to be established. Here are my five observations from the ice last night…
Number Five- Joe Corvo
Corvo is the newest Bruin, and this is the fourth time I saw him play in Bruins black and gold. They have needed a puck-moving defenseman since Ray Bourque was dealt to the Avs, and they are giving this former Hurricane a chance. So far, not all too impressed. Corvo seemed to shy away from the puck and any rushing pressure from Philadelphia. He was passive on the power play and his defense was sub-par at best. There are 81 games left, so Corvo is not done and could certainly improve. But so far, he looks like another Tomas Kaberle.
Number Four- Iyla Bryzgalov and the Flyers
The Flyers signed this goaltender to a nine-year deal for a reason. He is quite good. Boston only had 12 shots on net after two periods, but Bryzgalov made his dough in the third. He made some key saves in several power play opportunities, robbing David Krejci, Jordan Caron and others. The Flyers in general seemed like a much different team with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter gone. The change of philosophy may be for the better, but it was still strange seeing a less-explosive Philly offense with a more powerful defense.
Number Three- Championship Hangover?
The Bruins came out like a house-on-fire to start out the game, with many odd man rushes and quality shots. Well, not ALL quality shots. Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic both shot a pair wide of the net and Caron had one, too. Point is, they were skating up and down the ice and controlled the game’s tempo. This changed about 15 minutes in, when all of a sudden Boston looked very fatigued. The initial thought is they were pumped up after the ceremony, and then the adrenaline slowly left. Saturday night against Tampa Bay cannot come soon enough, when things will be normal again for this Bruins team.
Number Two- Top Line Disappearing Act
Horton and Lucic both missed two shots on goal, as stated above. After that, the first line seemed invisible most of the night. Lucic made a fantastic pass to Krejci in the third, where Bryzgalov robbed the B’s center, but other than that there were not many noticeable shifts. All three of these players are known to drift into short spells of disappearance, but it still is just one game.
Number One- The Third Line
Probably the biggest positive of the game. The third line came out smoking and they played well for pretty much the entire game. Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron seemed to have instant on-ice chemistry, and the two young guns seem like a natural fit. Newly minted alternate captain Chris Kelly also did his part, making up for the lack of defense from the two young pups. This line has a positive future this season if things stay like this. Boston returns on Saturday night when they host their Eastern Conference Championship opponents, the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7pm.