Things did not start off well for the Boston Bruins against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Columbus scored three goals in the first period of Boston’s eventual 4-1 exhibition loss at Scotiabank Arena. Tuukka Rask let in the tallies on 17 shots, while Jaroslav Halak did not allow a goal in splitting time with his fellow goaltender.
Still, neither team has played in a game in over four months. So it’s not a surprise to see some rust here and there while players work to get their legs back and get into the rhythm of playing a full 60 minutes.
Bruce Cassidy, for one, didn’t seem overly concerned with his team, especially knowing Columbus is heading straight for elimination games while the B’s will play for seeding.
“They were OK. We didn’t play well in front of Tuukka in the first period, obviously,” the head coach said during his Zoom postgame press conference. “We weren’t on time. (The Blue Jackets) had more urgency. They’re getting right into their elimination games, their mindset was clearly different than ours early on. I think we were, to a certain extent, trying to get back into live hockey whereas they were playing for keeps a little more … so I don’t want to fault Tuukka.
“Pucks went through us in that first period a lot … we weren’t really sharp with our sticks and our mental part of it. Jaro didn’t see as much action, got help from the crossbar a couple times. But they need to get some games like everyone else. They’re two good goaltenders. I believe they’ll be on top of their game in a hurry here.”
Rask also has been nursing a broken finger he suffered during the pause. But he said it felt good Thursday night.
“It’s good,” he said. “No pain whatsoever. It’s normal.”
The B’s have Friday off from practice before getting back into the swing of things and preparing for their first round-robin game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Bruins-Blue Jackets game:
— Speaking of Rask, Cassidy confirmed he will start Game 1 against the Flyers on Sunday.
— Brad Marchand appeared to aggravate something in his lower-body late in the third period during a Bruins penalty kill.
The winger left a tad early, but Cassidy doesn’t believe it is “anything serious,” though they’ll have a better idea come Friday morning.
— Both Marchand and Patrice Bergeron praised David Pastrnak for looking as good as ever in practice after only skating with the team once during Phase 3. And he picked up right where he left off.
Pastrnak scored the lone goal for Boston, a beauty of a fake before finding twine.
PASTA PUTS THE B'S ON THE BOARD 🙌
…wow. We missed typing that. pic.twitter.com/LxlaGhaz8b
— NESN (@NESN) July 31, 2020
“It was nice to get on the board to be honest,” Pastrnak said postgame.
— Jack Studnicka saw time with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk in Ondrej Kase’s absence. And he did not disappoint.
The DeBrusk-Krejci-Studnicka line:
8:52 of 5v5 TOI
8-2 edge in scoring chances generated
4-1 edge in hi-danger scoring chances
Studnicka/DeBrusk each with a pair of individual high-danger scoring chances generated.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) July 31, 2020
The 21-year-old looked strong on the ice. And if this were a normal season, he likely would have seen time with the B’s throughout the postseason. But this is anything but a normal season.
“It was fun,” Studnicka said on Zoom. “Something I’ve been looking forward to for months. … I think I’ve done a good job to prepare for this moment. … I thought us three all read off each other really well.”
— The next game counts and will be the first of three to determine where the Bruins officially will finish in the Eastern Conference. The puck drops at 3 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images