Bruins Blog

Final: Bruins, 2-1

rask.JPG
Tuukka Rask was the Bruins’ best player in the preseason opener. (Jared Wickerham/Getty)

Zach Hamill (game-high six shots) and Max Sauve scored power-play goals to lead the Bruins to a 2-1 win in the preseason opener. But the star of the night was Tuukka Rask, who stopped 31 of 32 shots to earn the win. Rask lost the shutout in the third period after Christopher Higgins tapped in the rebound of an Alexei Semenov point shot.

“I thought he was good,” Claude Julien said. “When you look at the number of shots he got and how he handled some of those pucks — there was a lot of traffic in front of him — he found ways to find the puck. I thought he was very good tonight. That was certainly one of the bright spots.”

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Rask looked calm and composed, standing tall amid the Rangers’ pressure in the second period.

* No problems for Marco Sturm and Matt Hunwick, playing for the first time since their respective injuries. Sturm set up Hamill at the far post for the first-period power-play goal. Hunwick played on the right side alongside Jeff Penner and saw 22:24 of ice time, most of any player. In the first period, Hunwick took a heavy hit from an onrushing Donald Brashear, who drove the undersized defenseman into the boards. “One of those things where you have to go back and you know you’re going to get hit,” Hunwick said. “You’ve just got to make the play. Hopefully the boards absorb most of the blow.”

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* Johnny Boychuk, known as an offensive defenseman, showed he can play the rough stuff in his own zone. Boychuk landed four hits, tied with Milan Lucic for most body blows in the game.

* The players dressing against Toronto tomorrow will skate at 10 a.m. at Ristuccia Arena, then travel to Canada in the afternoon.

STICK SALUTE: Andrew Bodnarchuk. Played a quiet, sound, dependable game, which is what will make the defenseman successful.

SIN BIN: Matt Maccarone. For having the shadiest-looking moustache on the ice.

***

All done in NYC. Bruins, 2-1.

10:05 (3). Bruins, 2-1. Christopher Higgins taps home the rebound of an Alexei Semenov point wrister.

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6:39 (3). Bruins, 2-0. Max Sauve tucks a backhander past Matt Zaba after a dish from Milan Lucic. Johnny Boychuk started the play with an aggressive pinch down the left-side wall. Second PPG for the Bruins.

20:00 (2). After 40 minutes, Bruins with a 1-0 lead. Far better second for the Rangers, who held a 14-8 shot advantage.

* Tuukka Rask is 20 minutes away from blanking the Rangers. Rask has been positionally sound, putting himself in the right spot to make saves. Only in high-pressure situations does Rask get scrambly. While Claude Julien says otherwise, it’s just about a sure bet that Rask will be in Boston to back up Tim Thomas to start the season.

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6:17 (2). PP for the Rangers, as Zdeno Chara goes off for holding.

20:00 (1). A couple late scoring chances for New York, but the Bruins take a 1-0 lead into the room after 20 minutes. Bruins with a 14-6 shot advantage. Rangers are fortunate to be down only one goal.

* Serious forechecking pressure by the Bruins. Lots of beef up front tonight with Milan Lucic, Byron Bitz, and Blake Wheeler leading the charge. Claude Julien mentioned Bitz’s hands the other day as being underrated. Bitz had a clever dump-and-chase when he tracked down his own puck early in the first. Later in the period, Bitz had a scoring chance in the middle. I think there’s upside in Bitz’s offensive game.

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* Trent Whitfield looks like a solid depth signing. Whitfield is a savvy veteran center who is responsible, gritty, and a good teammate. If injuries strike, Whitfield should be a good fill-in with the big club.

* Solid period for Vladimir Sobotka. The third-year pro had a nice backhand dish to Bitz for a scoring chance. With David Krejci most likely unavailable for the season opener, look for Sobotka to break camp with the big club if he continues his aggressive play.

* Not the best of periods for Hingham’s Brian Boyle, who took a pair of minor penalties.

* Adam McQuaid was slow to get up after an open-ice hit by P.A. Parenteau. McQuaid finished his shift.

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9:16 (1). Hook on Brian Boyle. PP2: Milan Lucic, Max Sauve, Chuck Kobasew, Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk.

7:30 (1). Bruins, 1-0. PPG for Zach Hamill, a close-range tap-in after a cross-ice feed from Marco Sturm. Blake Wheeler also gets a helper.

6:01 (1). Power play for the Bruins. First PP unit is Marco Sturm, Zach Hamill, Blake Wheeler, Jeff Penner, and Matt Hunwick.

5:50 (1). Some of the MSG faithful are booing new Ranger Donald Brashear. The ex-Cap is apparently still hated because of his playoff hit.

3:36 (1). So far, Zdeno Chara has been paired with Adam McQuaid. Johnny Boychuk is with Andrew Bodnarchuk.

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