Hockey returned to TD Garden Saturday night, and the Bruins rewarded fans who endured a long delay to the start of the season because of the NHL's labor dispute with a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers.
In a marquee clash of two of the Eastern Conference's top teams (the first NHL.com power rankings listed the Bruins No. 1, the Rangers No. 2), the Bruins got goals from Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille, and Johnny Boychuk.
The Bruins outshot the Rangers, 34-21, and goalie Tuukka Rask made 20 saves.
Lucic put the Bruins up 1-0 in the first period when he collected a rebound off Lundqvist and zipped it by the Rangers goalie. David Krejci took the initial shot.
Paille gave the Bruins a 2-0 in the second period. His shot from Lundqvist's left side got behind the goalie, hit the post and then hit Lundqvist before trickling over the goal line.
Brad Richards cut the lead to 2-1 for the Rangers when his shot with 7:10 left in the second whistled past Rask.
In the third, Boychuk controlled the puck off the boards and fired on goal, and the puck found its way through traffic, including Patrice Bergeron screening Lundqvist, and into the net for a 3-1 Bruins lead.
After the game, the Bruins gave selected fans the jerseys they wore during the game.
3d period, 5:34, Bruins 3, Rangers 1: Milan Lucic got tossed from the game.
3d period, 5:52, Bruins 3, Rangers 1: The fan of the game has a flying Bobby Orr tattoo across his back. Can't argue with the choice.
3d period, 11:47, Bruins 3, Rangers 1: Johnny Boychuk controlled the puck off the boards and fired on goal, and the puck found its way through traffic, including Patrice Bergeron screening Lundqvist, and into the net.
3d period, 12:53, Bruins 2, Rangers 1: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist caught David Krejci's point-blank shot in his glove, and the play was reviewed because it appeared Lundqvist's glove may have crossed the goal line, but it was ruled no goal.
3d period, 13:36, Bruins 2, Rangers 1: Bruins took care of business on the penalty kill, and got a power play of their own when Rick Nash goes for hooking.
3d period, 15:37, Bruins 2, Rangers 1: Rangers will have 1:30 of 5-on-3 with both Zdeno Chara (hooking) and Milan Lucic (boarding) in the penalty box.
2d intermission, Bruins 2, Rangers 1: The Bruins continue to hold advantages in many stat categories, but most importantly in shots. The Bruins have outshot the Rangers, 25-15, and against a lesser goalie this game might be very different right now. But Lundqvist is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, and he's shown why.
2d period, 6:25/6:22, Bruins 2, Rangers 1: Bruins Shawn Thornton drops the gloves with Mike Rupp, to the delight of the crowd, followed immediately by a bout between Gregory Campbell and Stu Bickel that ramps the Garden up to an 11 on the amplifier. (Gotta love the Garden music guy, who immediately plays Metallica's Creeping Death while the penalties get sorted out.)
2d period, 7:10, Bruins 2, Rangers 1: Brad Richards got the Rangers on the board with a drive from above the left circle that whistled past Tuukka Rask.
2d period, 11:35, Bruins 2, Rangers 0: Daniel Paille's blast got behind Lundqvist, hit the pipe, bounced off Lundqvist and trickled behind the Rangers' goalie and across the red line to put the Bruins up 2-0.
Start of second period, Bruins 1, Rangers 0: The Bruins were 23-2-0 in 2011-12 when leading after the first period. Just sayin'. (Thanks to the Bruins press box staff for that nugget, BTW)
1st intermission, Bruins 1, Rangers 0: The season is off to a good start for the Bruins, who lead at the first break, but having only 6 days of training camp is evident on both sides. The Rangers have struggled to clear their zone, while the Bruins have had several unforced error-type miscues, with pucks bouncing off sticks despite no apparent threat, and misfires on shots or passes.
Nonetheless, hockey is back and the Garden faithful are into it.
1st period, 5:46, Bruins 1, Rangers 0: Milan Lucic scored the first goal of the season for the Bruins when he collected a rebound of a blast by David Krejci that bounced off Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. It was an inevitable outcome considering the Bruins have been peppering Lundqvist all first period, and lead 12-4 in shots at the time of the goal.
1st period, 10:55: It's 4-on-4 for 51 seconds, and then the Bruins will have about 3 minutes of power play time as Brian Boyle picks up a double-minor. Right after Boyle went to the box, the Bruins narrowly missed as a puck slid through the crease parallel to the goal line, but was swept away by the Rangers just in time.
1st period, 11:56: Bruins D Adam McQuaid goes off for interference.
1st period, 13:03: The Bruins have kept much of the action in the Rangers' zone, and have a 4-1 advantage in shots.
1st period: Less than a minute in and NY's Carl Hagelin picks up an interference penalty. Anyone else expecting a bit of a sloppy game?
Pregame: The Bunker Hill Pipe Band from Charlestown just finished a stirring tune, and now "The Bruins are Back" is blaring through the sound system. Fever pitch as puck-drop approaches.
Welcome to TD Garden, where the atmosphere is electric both inside and outside as the Bruins open their 2013 season. Stay tuned for updates and commentary throughout the game.