BOSTON – With Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask now locked up for the next eight seasons, Malcolm Subban’s future is in question. The former first round pick (24 overall) has been one of the top goaltender in the OHL the past few seasons, and Thursday night he made his first start as a Boston Bruin.
Subban, who was drafted by the Bruins in 2012, had a fantastic season for Belleville of the OHL last year, going 29-11-4 with a league-best 2.14 GAA in 46 GP. Known for his athleticism and quickness, Subban impressed in his first NHL test, shutting out the Canadiens for half a game at the Bell Centre on Monday.
“I thought he made some real sound saves in that Montreal game where he had all the reasons in the world to be extremely nervous,” Said Bruins coach Claude Julien at Thursday’s morning skate. “He seemed so poised and calm and in control so, again, he’s earned the right to play a whole game so we’re going to give him that.”
Thursday night, that’s exactly what Subban got. With Chad Johnson struggling throughout training camping and early in the preseason, this was a chance for the young goaltender to showcase his talent.
Five minutes into the game the Red Wings got on the board first. Justin Abdelkader outmuscled the Bruins defenders and banged home a rebound; there was nothing Subban could do on the play. 16:07 into the first the Red Wings scored another rebound goal, this time it was David Mcintrye outworking the Bruins defender for the tally. Subban, who needed a better effort from his defenders, must also improve his rebound control, lessening second and third chance opportunities for opposing forwards.
Late in the second period, another bad breakdown by Bruins defenders and the ageless Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg connected for a goal. Once again, nothing Subban could do on the play as Zetterberg, left uncovered, rifled one home from the slot.
The theme of Detroit goals continued, as the Red Wings put up an eight spot on Subban and the Bruins.
While it certainly wasn’t the first start Subban had hoped for, it’s only the preseason, and he knows he has plenty of time to improve.
“They’re a good team and it can only get better from here,” said Subban following Thursday night’s defeat. “I’m not looking at it that way, I’m looking at it in a positive way. It’s probably a good thing now I can be more focused, obviously and start the game better. Going down two nothing doesn’t help.”
After the game Julien discussed Subban’s performance, and while he knows the young goaltender could have made some big saves, the defense in front of him simply wasn’t good enough. “It was one of those nights that unfortunately I think our guys in front of him certainly left him out to dry a little bit,” he said. “I thought we made some real bad mistakes. Even some of those goals in screens and tip-ins and loose pucks around the net, and a breakaway on that last goal. So it’s easy to point the finger at him but if anything I think we all have to take the blame for that and that’s for leaving him out to dry.”