Bruins-Rangers Live: B’s Hold On for 3-1 Win Over Rangers on Opening Night

Andrew Ference, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand

Final, Bruins 3-1: Despite Chris Bourque missing an empty net for a chance to score his first goal in the Black and Gold, the Bruins easily hang on for the 3-1 win.

Bruins coach Claude Julien was ecstatic with how his team played on Saturday night. Julien said that everyone did well and that he “couldn’t be happier.” He also added that the Bruins seemed to be pretty focused, which was pretty evident given the thorough effort.

The general mood in the locker room — which featured a cameo appearance from Aly Raisman — was a pretty jovial one. The Bruins were satisfied with what was a good win over a good hockey team, especially with points at a premium in the shortened season.

The B’s will be back in action Monday afternoon at the Garden for a special holiday matinee against the Winnipeg Jets.

Third period, 17:21, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins, holding their two-goal lead, can’t capitalize on the power play for the Hagelin hook.

However, Lundqvist has gone to the bench (at least for now) in favor of the extra skater.

Third period, 15:02, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins will be aided in their quest to keep this lead intact, as Carl Hagelin goes off for a minor penalty and the clock winding down.

Third period, 15:00, Bruins 3-1: The night is over for Milan Lucic. The power forward was just given a game misconduct after a little post-whistle dust-up with Ryan McDonagh in front of the Rangers net.

Lucic likely irked McDonagh by giving Henrik Lundqvist a little snow shower as the play ended.

Third period, 14:08, Bruins 3-1: It’s all about being cautious at this point, and the Bruins are going out of their way to make sure they don’t make any costly mistakes while holding the two-goal lead.

Boston’s defensive brand of hockey is on display right now, with careful passing through the neutral zone and sticking to defensive assignments.

So far, it’s working just under six minutes separating Boston from its first two points of the season.

Third period, 8:13, Bruins 3-1: The birthday boy strikes.

Johnny Boychuk, celebrating his 29th birthday, just gave the Bruins a pivotal insurance goal. Patrice Bergeron came up with a big faceoff win in the New York end where Boychuk put it on net from the right point. With traffic in front, the shot got by Lundqvist to give the B’s that much-needed two-goal lead.

Third period, 7:07, Bruins 2-1: Henrik Lundqvist just made the save of the year. That may not be saying much on the season’s first day, but this one may end up standing the entire season.

The Vezina winner made a tremendous glove save on David Krejci that would have been a huge insurance goal for the Bruins. The play was reviewed to see if the puck ever crossed the line, with the final ruling saying it did not.

Mercy. What a save.

Third period, 6:04, Bruins 2-1: Things just got a little easier for the Bruins.

They were able to kill off the first penalty, and as they were about to clear it once again, Rick Nash got lazy with his stick. The forward was called for hooking, killing off the remaining penalty and giving the Bruins an eventual power play.

Third period, 4:23, Bruins 2-1: Now the Bruins really have their work cut out for them.

Rick Nash was barreling in on Tuukka Rask, and Zdeno Chara tried to slow him down. The Boston captain did a little too much of that, though, and was called for hooking. That means the B’s have to kill off a 5-on-3 for the next minute and a half.

Third period, 3:53 Bruins 2-1: The Bruins are going on the penalty kill after Milan Lucic staples Carl Hagelin to the board. The hit came from behind and Lucic was whistled for boarding.

Third Period, 2:49, Bruins 2-1: The Rangers are putting the pressure on early in the third period, and they came close to trying it up, but Dougie Hamilton was able to break up a potential one-timer to the left of Tuukka Rask.

Second intermission, Bruins 2-1: The second period, a wild one, comes to a peaceful end.

There was a lot to digest there, so let’s start with the Bruins goal. Daniel Paille did a terrific job of driving the net after starting the breakout. The gritty forward was rewarded with a goal when he deflected Gregory Campbell’s shot past Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers goal, which was scored by Brad Richards, was a little bit fluky. Richards turned on a bouncing puck in the slot and just fired it at the net hoping for something good to happen. Something good did happen, as the puck knuckled over the left shoulder of Tuukka Rask, the only blemish on the Finnish goalie so far.

Then, there were the fights. Oh, were there fights. Shawn Thornton and Mike Rupp, a couple of big, bad dudes known for their handiwork with their fists, got the party started. It was as good of a fight as you’re gonna see with the pair exchanging rights and lefts. From this judge, it looked like Thornton got the edge with a late left jab and the takedown. On the ensuing faceoff, Gregory Campbell and Stu Bickel tired their hand(s) and delivered another entertaining bout. They exchanged some quick blows with Bickel getting one good shot in that may have got him the win.

The third period looms pretty important as it most often does, and we might be looking at this game being won in the first few minutes. It’s going to be important for Boston to come out strong in the third — and not sit on that one-goal lead — and try to get that third tally. It goes without saying that it won’t be easy.

Boston has outshot New York 25-15 through two periods.

Second period, 13:35 Bruins 2-1: As Good Ol’ J.R. used to say, business is about to pick up. Well, actually, business just picked up.

Notorious tough guys Shawn Thornton and Mike Rupp engaged in a terrific fight. On the ensuing faceoff, Gregory Campbell and Stu Bickel dropped the gloves before trading a flurry of punches.

Somebody in the Thornton-Rupp fight must have been bloodied as the two combatants spent an ensuing TV timeout changing their sweaters in the penalty box.

Second period, 12:50, Bruins 2-1: The Rangers, to the surprise of no one, aren’t going to go down listlessly.

Brad Richards just got the Blueshirts back on the board with New York’s first goal of the night and the season. Richards spun in the slot before unloading on a bouncing puck. The result was a slap shot up underneath the crossbar beating Tuukka Rask.

Second period, 11:08, Bruins 2-0: Shortly after the Bruins goal, Zdeno Chara was sent off for interference (the fourth called already).

The B’s killed off the penalty with little resistance from New York.

Second period, 8:20, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins’ fourth line gets in on the act, thanks in large part to speed and a little bit of luck in a rare lapse from Henrik Lundqvist.

Gregory Campbell carried the puck up the right wing before unleashing a shot from the faceoff circle, with Daniel Paille crashing the net down the slot. Paille tipped it at Lundqvist, and it looked like the all-world goalie was going to make the stop. However, the puck continued to trickle, eventually falling behind the netminder and over the line.

Second period, 7:16, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins’ power play comes and goes without a goal, but there were positives to take. The B’s top power play unit moved the puck extremely well, and got a great chance when Zdeno Chara walked in the back door for a one-time opportunity. Henrik Lundqvist was having none of that, though, going post to post to make the save.

The power play is going to have to yield goals at some point, but at least Boston doesn’t look totally clueless with the man-advantage as they have at times in the past.

Second period, 4:05 Bruins 1-0: The Bruins kill off the penalty to open the second period, with a good shift from Brad Marchand.

The pesky forward blocked a shot at the point and then cleared the puck a few seconds later. The B’s might have actually had a chance for a shorthanded rush, but Marchand was (understandably) gassed.

The Bruins go right back on the attack, keeping up the pressure. That leads to a Brandon Segal penalty. He gets two for hooking.

End first period: Andrew Ference was sent off with 6.8 seconds to play in the first, so the Rangers will have a fresh sheet of ice for their power play when the second period begins.

But all in all, a good first period for the Bruins, as they take the 1-0 lead to the dressing room.

The B’s dominated possession, and it showed in the shot total.  Boston outshot New York 14-7 in the first, and if it wasn’t for Henrik Lundqvist (aided by a little luck as well), the Bruins might have a bigger lead.

Milan Lucic, for all he heard about his playing shape, looked very good in the first period. He did a nice job of keeping the play alive on his goal, and he’s skated well. The same could be said for that entire line really. Nathan Horton looks strong in his return, and he got a good test early on when he was steamrolled behind the New York net by Marc Staal. Horton got right up, though, and continued playing. Lucic, it should be mentioned, returned the favor by delivering a hard hit on Staal.

Tuukka Rask hasn’t been tested too much in the first period, but when he has, he’s answered the bell. The one save that stands out in the first would be a stop he made on Rick Nash who was all alone in the slot. Other than that play, the Bruins have a done a nice job on Nash, taking the body to the former Blue Jackets forward whenever they get the chance.

First period, 14:14 Bruins 1-0: Finally,the Bruins find the back of the net. Milan Lucic, who did a nice job of taking a check through the neutral zone to play the puck, is rewarded just seconds later.

The big forward stuck with the play, jumping on a rebound from a David Krejci shot, depositing it into the back of the net for the first tally of the game.

Credit Krejci and Andrew Ference with the assists.

First period, 9:05, 0-0: Tuukka Rask made a very nice save on new Rangers forward Rick Nash, and it ends up paying off further.

Brian Boyle later runs into Rask, earning himself a double-minor.

First period, 8:04, 0-0: And we get our first chant about excrement of the 2013 season. The Garden crowd doesn’t like an interference call on Adam McQuaid, who is sent off for the B’s first penalty of the season.

First period, 6:57, 0-0: The Bruins get another good look, this time from Nathan Horton.

The B’s did a nice job of breaking out of their own zone, and the winger carried the puck up the right side without much trouble. He was able to get a shot on Lundqvist, with the goalie turning it aside with his right pad. Unfortunately for the Bruins, though, there was no one crashing the net to bang home the rebound.

The B’s are outshooting the Rangers 4-1 early on.

First period, 3:15, 0-0: The Bruins’ first power play is an unsuccessful one. The B’s muster two shots, with nothing to show for it.

Henrik Lundqvist made a nice shoulder save on a shot from Chris Kelly taken from the right faceoff dot.

First period, 0:19, 0-0: That didn’t take long. Rangers forward Carl Hagelin takes an interference penalty and the Bruins go on the power play for the first time this season.

First period, 0-0: We’re under way from the Garden. The 2013 season has begun.

7:09 p.m.: The Bruins brought out all the bells and whistles for the pregame introduction. It was pretty awesome. There were bag pipes, smoke and loud noises. Loud noises!

6:58 p.m.: Starting lineups are as follows:

New York

Dan Giardi and Ryan McDonagh will anchor the blue line, while Rick Nash starts in his first game with the Rangers alongside Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin.

Boston

The top line of David Krejci centering Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic goes up front with Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk on defense.

6:48 p.m.: The pregame skate is over, so let’s have some fun with numbers. Here are some tidbits from the game notes.

The Bruins are 35-36-16-0 all time in season openers, but they are 28-16-11-0 when those games are at home. They’ve only won three of their last 16 season openers, though, and that was after a streak of eight in a row from 1987-1994.

Chris Bourque, who will make his Bruins debut in this one, will make the Bourques the fifth father-son combination in team history.

Finally, let’s take a look at the starting goaltenders.

Tuukka Rask gets the starting nod for the Bruins. He’s 2-3-1 with a 1.83 goals against average against the Rangers for his career. That does include one shutout. Nice numbers, no doubt, but they’re nothing compared to what Henrik Lundqvist does against the Bruins.

The reigning Vezina winner is 19-6-2 with a 1.53 GAA in 27 appearances against the Bruins. That includes six shutouts. So yeah. He’s pretty good.

6:37 p.m.: The Bruins lines look to be what we’d expect, with Chris Bourque skating on a line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.

Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton looks to still be paired with Dennis Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara and Johhny Boychuk are another pair and the final pair, of course, consists of Adam McQuaid and Andrew Ference.

6:31 p.m.:  Tuukka Rask and Henrik Lundqvist lead their teams out for pregame warm-ups. Go figure, right?

6:17 p.m.: Puck drop is officially slated for 7:12 p.m., so we’re less than an hour away from getting things going.

We just got up to press level after sitting in on a news conference with Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs. We’ll have more later, but here’s a few highlights of that.

“Like all of you I wanted nothing more than to have the season start on time in October,” the elder Jacobs said in his opening statement. “Make no mistake — it should have. The fact that we were unable to reach an agreement until just recently is a disappointment.

“I want to personally apologize to our fans and others who depend on this team for their livelihood. But these are just words. The best way to make it up to you is to play hard and win.”

Jacobs also said that “when the puck drops, the last four months are behind us.”

The owner said that he didn’t get the feeling that he needed to mend any fences in his own locker room after locking the players out. He also said that while he doesn’t think either side won the lockout, he agrees that neither lost.

However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t totally ready to make nice. Why did it take so long to get a deal done?

“You have to ask the other side that.”

We’ll have much more from Jacobs either later or on Sunday. Stay tuned.

4:05 p.m.: Good afternoon from a somewhat quiet TD Garden. We’re still a good three hours from puck drop, but there is certainly an undeniable level of excitement outside of the Garden.

We’ll be heading up to our perch high above the ice in a little while where we’ll get you up to date with all the goings on here. Until then, how about a few links to get you excited for the opener?

First of all, here’s my look at the Bruins’ schedule with one reason to watch each game — as if you needed one other than it’s hockey. Nonetheless, you can find that right here.

If you’re looking for something of a preview on the Bruins’ opponent for the opener — and likely one of their biggest competitors in the East — you might be interested in this one. The Rangers know expectations are high (as they should be).

Will Tuukka Rask’s play be the biggest key to Bruins success this season? If not, who will be? Voice your opinion here.

11:57 a.m.: This will come as no surprise, but it’s going to be Tuukka Rask in goal for the opener, as the Finnish netminder was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate.

Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed that defenseman Adam McQuaid is indeed ready to go, which is pretty impressive considering some reports indicated he might not be ready for a few weeks after a blood clot surgery.

Speaking of d-men, it’s expected that Saturday night will mark the NHL debut for 2011 first-round draft pick Dougie Hamilton.

“I don’t think he has a weakness,” Julien told reporters following the skate. He did, however, that if Hamilton did have a “weakness,” it would obviously be a lack of experience. Hamilton looked shaky at times on Tuesday night in the scrimmage with Providence, and growing pains are to be expected. However, there’s no denying the high level of talent the 19-year-old brings to the table. That’s how you rack up 8-33-41 totals in 32 games at the junior level.

8 a.m. ET: This is the day hockey fans have been waiting on for way too long. The NHL is back, and it’s back in a big way.

The lockout is over, the accelerated training camp has finished and it’s time to get after it. Professional hockey returns to rinks everywhere on Saturday, and there may not be a better game on the docket than the one set to take place in Boston.

The Bruins will open their 2013 season in a big way, welcoming the New York Rangers to town. It’s a matchup of two teams that have Stanley Cup dreams, and it could mark the first of many meetings between the two clubs, extending well into the spring.

Boston will be ushering in a new era of sorts. The B’s turn the goaltending responsibilities over to Tuukka Rask. The Finnish netminder is no stranger to the starting role, though.

Rask started 39 games during the 2009-10 season, going 22-12-5 with a very nice 1.97 goals against average and an impressive .931 save percentage. He’s got big shoes to fill, though, with Tim Thomas opting to spend his year in Colorado rather than between the pipes in Boston.

On the other side of the ice, there are no goaltending questions. Henrik Lundqvist is the reigning Vezina winner and is the league’s best goalie in the eyes of many. On top of that, the Rangers have one of the league’s deepest rosters as well as some of the NHL’s highest expectations.

Puck drop between these two elite clubs is set for 7 p.m. with coverage on NESN beginning at 5:30, but be sure to check back here before this one starts for updates from the Garden.