Tuukka Rask Saves the Night, Patrice Bergeron Scores Twice as Bruins Top Habs 4-2 in Preseason Opener

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Tuukka Rask Saves the Night, Patrice Bergeron Scores Twice as Bruins Top Habs 4-2 in Preseason Opener
Final, Bruins 4-2: Despite some scary moments late, the Bruins managed to hold on for the 4-2 win to open the preseason on a positive note.

Rask was the story in the one, making 36 saves, including some spectacular ones as he appeared to be in midseason form already. He was the deserving No. 1 star, while Bergeron (2 goals) was the second star and Montreal's Plekanec was the third star.

Bergeron finished with four shots and was a plus-2 in 14:58, while Horton added a goal in his Bruins debut on his only shot of the night. Boychuk had the other goal, along with three shots and two blocked shots while finishing a plus-2 in 20:42.

Seguin had a assist and two shots in 15:05 in his first taste of NHL action.

Third period, 19:20, Bruins: 4-2: And the empty net delivers, as Blake Wheeler hits the post with a chance to ice this one.

Third period, 18:54, Bruins: 4-2: The Habs pull Sanford for the extra attacker. The empty net might have a better chance of stopping the B's than Price did.

Third period, 14:15, Bruins: 4-2: Ryan Spooner and Max Sauve work a give-and-go with Sponner firing a shot in from the left circle as the Bruins finally mount a little counterattack in this one.

The rookies have looked good in this one, even though the Canadiens have been carrying the play of late.

Third period, 8:30, Bruins: 4-2: The Habs just came within inches of pulling within one as Yannick Weber sent a point shot between Rask's arm and body, but it hit off the inside of the left post, skidded across the goal line and hit the right post and stayed out.

With the way Rask has played in this one, he deserves a little luck.

Third period, 8:30, Bruins: 4-2: The shot tally is 32-13 in favor of the Canadiens. Rask is the No. 1
star so far, even with the great two-way effort Bergeron has
contributed.

Third period, 7:10, Bruins 4-2: Rask comes up big again, as the Habs are continuing their momentum at even strength after failing to convert their power-play chance.

Spacek sent in a bid from the point that Rask blocked, and Rask also denied Dumont in close before the net came off the moorings in a mad scramble in front.

Third period, 5:13, Bruins 4-2: All kinds of pressure from the Montreal power play. The Bruins survived that one more than they killed it, but the result is the same – they're still up by two with two more minutes now off the clock.

Third period, 3:13, Bruins 4-2: Dennis Seidenberg gets sent off for two minutes for tripping. Big kill here for the Bruins to maintain their two-goal lead early in the third.

Second intermission, Bruins 4-2: The Bruins might actually have to work for this one after all, as what looked like a laugher early in the second has turned into a game again.

The Habs are actually outshooting Boston 21-12, but Rask has come up with some big saves while Price struggled in the first half of the game before giving way to Sanford.

The Canadiens seemed to turn things around after the goalie change, scoring two goals on special teams (one short-handed, one on power play) after the switch.

The Bruins did pull ahead in the hit count, now leading 17-14 in that category after two periods. Horton and Caron each have three hits to pace the Bruins. Campbell has two, as well as three blocked shots and is 4-2 on face-offs. The rest of the B's are a combined 9-18 on draws.

Seguin had his first two shots on goal in the second and added another blocked shot. He's played 11:07 so far, including 2:12 on the power play. His linemate has been quieter, as Blake Wheeler has no shots and is a minus-1 in 11:19.

Brian McGrattan has played a surprising 9:34 so far and hasn't looked bad. He's chipped in a pair of hits and hasn't made any major gaffes.

The Bruins have 16 blocked shots to Montreal's seven, as the defense has helped out Rask in this one. The Habs have helped too, with 12 missed shots to Boston's two. Combined, Montreal has attempted 49 shots to Boston's 21.

End second period, Bruins 4-2: This one might be a game after all, as the Habs strike late in the second to cut the deficit to just two goals with 20 minutes to play.

Second period, 19:20, Bruins 4-2: The Habs have a chance to get back in this as they cut it to 4-2 with a power-play goal in the final minute of the second period.

With Matt Hunwick off for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass, Michael Cammalleri led the rush down the middle and put a perfect backhand pass behind Boychuk and onto Plekanec breaking in down the left wing. Josh Gorges gets the secondary assist.

Second period, 16:48, Bruins 4-1: Former Harvard man Louis Leblanc gets a rough ride into the boards by Boychuk and Horton.

The hit draws a crowd, but no penalties called in that one. Horton was standing over Leblanc after the hit, but it was actually Boychuk that sent him into the wall.

Second period, 12:04, Bruins 4-1: And the shutout bid is over, as Montreal answers with a short-handed goal of its own.

With Dumont off for hooking, Plekanec and Maxim Lapierre break in 2-on-1. Plekanec makes the play down the left wing, centering it to Lapierre in front for the tap-in.

Just before that, Sanford got a rousing ovation after a glove save on Boychuk. Sanford is suddenly the most popular guy in Montreal.

Second period, 10:01, Bruins 4-0: Off the first face-off after the goalie change, we have our first fight, as Adam McQuaid and Andrew Conboy square-off.

They eventually come together and McQuaid sends Conboy down quickly. Conboy continues to throw from the ice, but McQuaid was on top and had the better position to take the win in this one.

Second period, 10:00, Bruins 4-0: And Price finally hears some cheers, as he is replaced in goal by Curtis Sanford.

This was a scheduled change, as Price was slated to play just half the game. This wasn't how he wanted to start the preseason though, with four goals on just nine shots.

Rask remains in goal for Boston and is expected to play the whole game.

Second period, 8:00, Bruins 4-0: Price is getting the Zdeno Chara treatment in Montreal in this one – he's getting booed every time he touches the puck. Of course, there would be less boos if he actually touched the puck a few more times before it actually crossed the goal line.

Second period, 5:45, Bruins 4-0: Just got a quick report from NESN's Naoko Funayama on the scene in Montreal.

Naoko's take after the fist period: "B's look like they have some legs, Tuukka has been solid, seems like he is playing the angles well … nice to see Horton score, easy wrister. I liked Paille's pass back to Bergeron, Bergereon with a nice move around Price … B's off to a good start."

Appreciate the on-scene update, Naoko.

Second period, 2:17, Bruins 4-0: Bergeron does it again, this time striking short-handed to make it 4-0.

With Paille off for hooking, Bergeron stole the puck from Spacek and breaks in alone, deking around Price for his second of the night, this one unassisted.

Bergeron nearly scored 18 seconds in as well, but Price came up with the save on that backhander after Seguin's rush down the middle was broken up.

First intermission, Bruins 3-0: A couple of quick statistical notes on period No. 1.

The Habs outhit Boston 10-9, with Greg Campbell and
Jordan Caron each having a pair of hits for the Bruins. Campbell is
also 3-1 on face-offs. In his first period as a Bruin he's already
showing some of the little things he does so well that can help a team.

The Bruins also had eight blocked shots in the first, by eight
different players. Good to see so many guys giving up their bodies even
in an exhibition game.

Seguin's first period as a Bruin featured 6:07 of ice-time. he didn't
have a shot and was 0-2 on face-offs, but did pick up an assist and had
a blocked shot. Most importantly, he didn't look out of place on the
ice against NHL competition for the first time.

End first period, Bruins 3-0: Well, that was a nice little start to the season, eh?

The Bruins jumped all over Carey Price in the opening period for a quick 3-0 lead thanks to goals by Horton, Boychuk and Bergeron as Boston scored on half of its six shots in the period.

Think the Habs are regretting that decision to keep Price over Halak yet?

Meanwhile, Rask was perfect at the other end of the ice, stopping all 11 shots he faced, including a kick save on a Jaroslav Spacek point shot that snuck in on him through a screen just before the buzzer.

First period, 16:57, Bruins 3-0: Things finally get a little physical as Andrew Conboy get tied up with Adam McQuaid behind the Bruins net. Conboy gets the only penalty for interference as the B's go back on the power play.

First period, 15:20, Bruins 3-0: And Patrice Bergeron makes it 3-0.

Great play by Daniel Paille to drop a backhanded pass to bergeron coming down the slot, and Bergeron undresses Price with a move around him at the left post to make it 3-0.

The Bruins couldn't have scripted a better start, but of course we've seen what can happen with 3-0 leads before.

First period, 13:32, Bruins 2-0: Johnny Boychuk makes it 2-0 with a power-play blast from the blue line.

Just six seconds after Gabriel Dumont was sent off for hooking Max Sauve, the Bruins strike, with Tyler Seguin earning his first point with the secondary assist.

Seguin dropped the puck out of a scramble in the right circle off a face-off and got it back to bartkowski, who earns his second assist with a pass to Boychuk for the one-timer.

First period, 12:15, Bruins 1-0: Montreal's Benoit Pouliot drive hard to the net, sending the cage flying as he smashes into the left post, but fortunately he misses Rask as he steamrolls through.

First period, 10:15, Bruins 1-0: All kind of pressure in the Boston zone, but Rask continues to hold the fort to keep the Bruins ahead.

The Canadiens have been dominating territorially, but Rask has been the difference so far.

Montreal really picked up its play after Price gave up a pretty soft goal early. Now the Bruins have to match that level of intensity.

First period, 5:33, Bruins 1-0: Rask getting tested again early in this one. He makes a stop on Tom Pyatt from the right slot, then denies Pyatt again on a rebound in front.

Brian McGrattan was throwing his weight around on the previous shift. The Habs don't have a true heavyweight dressed in this one, so McGrattan might not have a dance partner, but will have an opportunity to show if he can play a regular shift without being a liability on the ice against the speedy Habs.

First period, 1:36, Bruins 1-0: And the Bruins are on the board.

Nathan Horton wastes no time making his mark in his Bruins debut, scoring on Boston's second shot of the game to make it 1-0.

Horton snapped off a wrister from the right circle that beat Price glove side inside the near post.

Rookies Matt Bartkowski and Ryan Spooner earn the assists as three newcomers combine for teh first goal of the year.

First period, 0:52, 0-0: Rask in fine form already as he makes a big stop on Aaron Palushaj breaking in alone off a feed from Plekanec.

7:38 p.m.: Misfire on the first attempt on the U.S. national anthem. Might be the first time in a while that the Star-Spangled Banner wasn't booed in Montreal, as the crowd sounded like they enjoyed the miscue.

The singer rebounded with a decent performance of both the American and Canadian anthems, so we should be just about ready for some hockey.

7:15 p.m.: While Bruins Nation will be focused on the pro debut of Tyler Seguin on Wednesday night, the Canadiens will counter with a couple of their top prospects worth checking out as well.

It won't be hard to spot 6-foot-6 defenseman Jarred Tinordi, a 2010 first-round pick and son of longtime NHL blueliner Mark Tinordi. Montreal will also dress Louis Leblanc, a 2009 first-rounder who attended Harvard last year.

The Habs will have some more familiar names in the lineup as well. Some of veterans scheduled to play for Montreal include former Bruin defenseman Hal Gill and high-scoring forwards Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri.

The Canadiens will also start Carey Price in net. Price struggled for much of last year, going just 13-20-5 with a 2.77 GAA and a .912 save percentage, ultimately losing the starting job to Jaroslav Halak. But the Habs chose to stick with Price, re-signing him to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million at the start of September.

Maybe part of the reason for that decision was based on how Price performed against Boston last year, as he certainly didn't struggle against the Bruins. Price was 3-0 with an 0.97 GAA and a .971 save percentage in three games against Boston last year.

Bruins starter Tuukka Rask had plenty of success last year as well, both against the Habs (1-2, 2.05 GAA, .929 save percentage) and against the rest of the league (22-12-5, NHL-best 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage).

6:30 p.m.: The first face-off of the season is just over an hour away, as the Bruins prepare to open their preseason slate in Montreal on Wednesday night.

This one will be especially memorable for one Bruin hopeful, as rookie Jordan Caron will play his first NHL game in his home province of Quebec.

"I think it's going to be a great feeling to play my first NHL game in Montreal," said Caron after Wednesday's morning skate at the Garden. "It's just an exhibition game, but it's going to be a lot of fun."

Caron was born in Sayabec, Quebec and grew up about 5-6 hours from Montreal, but is plenty familiar with both Montreal and the mystique of the Canadiens.

"Everybody would go to Montreal in the summer so I spent a lot of time in Montreal growing up," said Caron. "I spent the last two summers training there, so it will be great."

Caron had to wait a little longer than he would have liked to make his exhibition debut, as the Bruins' 2009 first-round pick was unable to participate in last year's training camp after suffering a broken collarbone during Team Canada's evaluation camp for the World Junior Championships that summer. That just makes Wednesday's game all the sweeter, though not without a dose of butterflies to go with it.

"I think there's a little bit of both nerves and excitement," said Caron, whose parents and sisters will be on hand to watch him at the Bell Centre. "Playing my first NHL game in NHL in Montreal is pretty special. I've been dreaming of this my whole life, so it's going to be a great experience."

4 p.m.: The Bruins are making their way north of the border to take on the Canadiens Wednesday night in Montreal in the preseason opener for both clubs.

Before leaving Boston, however, the Bruins got in a workout at the Garden Wednesday morning. The players skating against Montreal took the ice first, followed by the second group, most of whom will be playing Thursday night against Florida in Rochester, N.Y.

Among the players slated to play against the Canadiens is goalie Tuukka Rask, who will see his first game action since last spring's playoffs.

"It's always fun to get into game action instead of just practicing," said Rask. "It's going to be a little different, but hopefully we'll make it a good one. It's definitely been a long time since I played a game, but I'll try to stop some [shots]."

Rask should get plenty of opportunities to do that, as he expects to play the entire contest. Nolan Schaefer will be the other goalie dressed Wednesday night.

"I think I'll go the full 60 [minutes]," said Rask. "That's what we've done in the past, and I don't think we'll change that."

Rask was especially excited about getting the season started against the Habs in the home of Boston's oldest rival.

"There couldn't be a better place on the road to start than Montreal," said Rask. "It's always a great atmosphere there and hopefully we'll get off to a good start."

Based on the morning skate, the lines for Wednesday's game should look like:

Paille-Bergeron-Caron
Wheeler-Seguin-Recchi
Sauve-Spooner-Horton
Reich-Campbell-McGrattan

In the second session this morning, Tim Thomas returned to action after resting on Tuesday. Thomas is recovering from offseason hip surgery, but will be making the trip. He doesn't anticipate playing in either game, however.

There was also a scare in the second skate, as Milan Lucic drove to the net, but pulled up short. Andrew Ference collided with him and sent Lucic head-first into the boards, but the big winger was OK and finished the practice, even taking a couple more big hits as No. 17 seemed to have a target on his back in this practice.

"It looked worse than it felt," said Lucic. "I went [down] pretty hard, but I was just trying to get myself into a safe position before I hit the boards. You want to go hard because you want to get into game shape, but that was a situation where I could have cut to the net harder but I just didn't want to take the goalie out, but I ended up getting the worst of it."

Wednesday's game will mark the pro debut of Bruins' top pick Tyler Seguin, as well as the Bruins debut for offseason addition Nathan Horton.

Earlier in the day, the Bruins announced their first cuts from the main camp, releasing eight players.

11:30 a.m.: Let the games begin.

There won't be any points at stake when the Bruins open their preseason slate Wednesday night in Montreal, but no Boston game against the hated Habs is ever without meaning.

This exhibition matchup will be especially intriguing, as it will mark the Bruins debut of top prospect Tyler Seguin, the second overall pick in this year's draft. He'll get thrust right into the ancient rivalry before a packed house at the Bell Centre, playing on a line with veterans Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler. Expect Seguin to also see plenty of power-play time with Patrice Bergeron, another key veteran who has been helping Seguin make the transition to the pro game.

Nathan Horton, this summer's other key acquisition in a trade with Florida, will also be playing his first game in a Bruins sweater in this matchup, while 2009 first-rounder Jordan Caron will also make his pro debut in his home province with his family on hand.

Tuukka Rask is expected to play the entire game in goal, with a defense featuring the likes of Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk and Matt Hunwick, along with rookie Matt Bartkowski, in front of him.

Check back throughout the day for a full analysis of the Bruins' first exhibition clash of the season and Seguin's highly-anticipated debut.

Bruins lineup
Forwards:
Patrice Bergeron, Greg Campbell, Jordan Caron, Nathan Horton, Brian McGrattan, Daniel Paille, Mark Recchi, Jeremy Reich, Max Sauve, Tyler Seguin, Ryan Spooner, Blake Wheeler

Defensemen: Matt Bartkowski, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Hunwick, Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Nolan Schaefer

Canadiens lineup
Forwards:
Tomas Plekanec, Michael Cammalleri, Benoit Pouliot, Maxim Lapierre, Travis Moen, Tom Pyatt, Jeff Halpern, Louis Leblanc, Gabriel Dumont, Aaron Palushaj, Benjamin Maxwell, Andrew Conboy.

Defensemen:  Jaroslav Spacek, Josh Gorges, Hal Gill, Yannick Weber, Jarred Tinordi, Frédéric St-Denis.

Goalies: Carey Price, Curtis Sanford

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