The Boston Bruins picked up their first win of the 2011-12 season on Saturday night when they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1. The Bruins dictated the pace of the entire game, with a dominating offensive presence and smothering defense on the prominent O of Tampa Bay.
The game was reminiscent of the playoff series this past postseason, except with a noticeably faster pace from Boston. Here are all of my observations from Boston’s second game of the season.
Number Five- Mathieu Garon
Garon was signed by Tampa Bay this past offseason to help balance out Dwayne Roloson. They needed someone who can play several games a year when there is a 42-year-old as the starting goalie. Garon had a great season with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11, so he seems like he will be a good fit with the Bolts.
And on this night, if not for Garon, the Bruins may have scored eight goals. For the second straight game the Bruins ran into a hot goalie, but this time they were able to pop a few in. Garon seems like he will be a good fit in Tampa Bay, and him and Roloson should be a good tandem.
Number Four- Tyler Seguin
This is the second straight game where Seguin has made an appearance here. This time Seguin didn’t have Caron streaking up the ice with him, but he was still very successful on that line. Seguin had over 16 minutes of ice time last night, a huge boost of the average 10 he was getting last season.
Seguin has been the one player that has contributed the most this season without a point. He has been on the first power-play unit and his passes have been crisp and shots sharp. It seems like he is ready to break out.
Number Three- Penalties
There were 10 minor penalties in this game, all alternating between Tampa Bay and Boston. The complete opposite of the last time these two teams met, when there were no penalties in that game seven of the Eastern Conference Championship.
The penalties did play a big difference in the game, changing the pace, and all the 4-on-4s created so much open ice that it changed what the teams were trying to do. If not for the penalties, this would have been a different game.
Number Two- Tampa Bay Grog
The Lightning looked groggy, no surprise for a team playing in the middle of a back to back. The Lightning had defeated the Carolina Hurricanes the night before in Raleigh, so it’s not shocking that they looked a little off last night.
They allowed a couple breakaways and defensive breakdowns, so the Lightning did not have their A game at all. They are a better team than they showed last night, and they hung in there with the Bruins for most of the night.
Number One- Bruins Pace
The Bruins pace this year already looks so different. Yes, they won the Cup last season, but their offense never had much dictation to it. A lot of dump and runs, a lot of line changes and wasted possessions.
Not so this year, as the Bruins look like every possesion has a purpose, like they are trying to make something of every time they rush down the ice. It is a much differet approach, and one that could work.
The Bruins come back this Monday for a 1 p.m. matinee versus the Colorado Avalanche.