In their intra-squad scrimmage on Monday, the Bruins' Group A players skated to a 3-1 win over their Group B counterparts. They didn't have as much success in their first try against players from another NHL team, largely because an ex-Bruin made his presence felt.
While a lineup featuring the bulk of that Group B roster downed Montreal 4-2 on Wednesday, the Group A boys couldn't duplicate that performance against the Panthers, falling to Florida 3-2 in Rochester, N.Y., on Thursday as Dennis Wideman scored the game-winner in his first game against Boston.
The Bruins got goals from youngsters Steve Kampfer and Jeff LoVecchio, but it wasn't enough to keep Boston from falling to 1-1 in the exhibition season. Florida, which beat Carolina 4-1 on Tuesday, moves to 2-0 in preseason action.
The Bruins will get a chance to even the score in their next game, as they return to Boston to face Florida again on Saturday (7 p.m.). That will give Garden fans a chance to greet Wideman once again, and viewers around the region will get a chance to see the 2010-11 Bruins in action for the first time, as NESN will broadcast the game.
Wideman scored on his first shot as a Panther, matching the feat the man he was traded for accomplished on Wednesday, as Nathan Horton scored on his first shot as a Bruin against Montreal.
Horton didn't play in this one, as the Bruins used separate lineups for the two games, but veterans Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Michael Ryder, Shawn Thornton, Mark Stuart and Andrew Ference all played in their first exhibition game of the season.
Ryder turned in the best effort of that lot, rising to the occasion as he knows his spot on the team could be in jeopardy after his struggles last year. Ryder picked up an assist and had a team-high four shots. LoVecchio also impressed with his strong play, while Zach Hamill chipped in an assist.
It was a physical affair early, with Lane MacDermid making his NHL debut a memorable one by dropping the gloves with veteran heavyweight Andrew Peters early in the first period. MacDermid was also involved in the game's only other scrap, as he was leveled by Florida defenseman Bryan Allen before Nathan McIver came in to his aid. McIver picked up an instigator penalty and was forced to sit for 17 minutes.
The Bruins outshot Florida 27-18, with a perfectly symmetrical 9-6 edge in each of the three periods. But they struggled to get many of those shots past Panthers goalies Tomas Vokoun (10 saves) and Tyler Plante (15 saves), who each allowed just one goal in a period and a half.
Nolan Schaefer played the full game in goal for the Bruins. He struggled early, as Florida scored three goals in the first 21:15 of play, but finished strong with 15 saves. He gave up a pair of goals to David Booth in the first period, then Wideman scored what proved the game-winner on the power play 1:15 into the second.
The game also marked the debut of several highly regarded Bruins rookies, as 2008 first-round pick Joe Colborne and 2010 second-rounder Jared Knight played their first NHL games. Neither managed to record a point, but both players finished with a pair of shots. Kampfer added three shots, scoring on one, in his first NHL game.
For Florida, Erik Gudbranson, the third overall pick of this year's draft whom the Panthers selected one spot after the Bruins grabbed Tyler Seguin, played his second game. After scoring a goal and an assist against Carolina, the Bruins kept the young defenseman quiet, as he was held pointless with just one shot. Seguin was among the Bruins who had this night off after playing in Montreal on Wednesday.