Home > Boston Bruins > Bruins lose season opener as they raise their 1st banner in 39 years

Bruins lose season opener as they raise their 1st banner in 39 years

What a sight the opening ceremony was. Great job by the Bruins video staff to put together a great playoff montage. The whole thing was very emotional, and it was great to re-live the majesty that was, the Bruins 2010-2011 Stanley Cup run. Raising the banner, getting to see Mark Recchi raise the cup again, it was all quite a wonderful spectacle at the TD Garden Thursday night. Among all of this Stanley Cup hoopla, we actually had a game to play. Sadly, the Bruins dropped their season opener to the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1. It ended up being an impressive performance by both goaltenders, with Bryzgalov stopping 21 of 22 shots, and Thomas stopping 27 of 29 shots. The Bruins had the better scoring chances, and had a lot of shots go wide, with a post hit or two in there. There is much room for improvement for the Bruins, and I think they have a very good-looking team as this season starts.

The Bruins hang up their Stanley Cup banner, but lose 2011-2012 home opener.

1st Period

The Bruins came out ready to play, and controlled the puck in the offensive zone from the get go. Good chances by the 1st line and the 2nd line, with Rich Peverley looking good taking over for the now retired Mark Recchi. It was a fast paced start by both teams. A huge rush attempt made by the Bruins, with Jordan Coran making a play on the puck in the defensive zone. He was able to get the puck up ahead to Chris Kelly, and the Bruins had a 2-on-1 with Kelly and Seguin. Kelly passed near side to Seguin, who skated into the slot before passing back across ice to Kelly for the tip in attempt, but it went just wide. Just around midway through the 1st period, we would have the 1st penalty of the 2011 NHL season. Zac Rinaldo would be called for holding the stick at 9:00, and the Bruins dismal powerplay was on the ice. The Bruins got to work quick, with new defenseman Joe Corvo picking the puck up in the defensive zone. He passed to Seguin still in the defensive zone, who made a terrific long ice pass to Brad Marchand. Marchand used his speed to get behind the Flyers defense, he set the edge skating into the slot, deked, and scored. A backhand shot sneaked low by the blocker of Bryzgalov, and Boston was up 1-0, 9:42 into the game, on a powerplay goal nonetheless. Seguin came right back with a terrific shot from the near circle, and he just rang the post. The Bruins 1st overall pick last year was off to an impressive start for the 2011 season. The 1st line for Philly started to come alive though, with great play by the 18 year veteran Jamir Jagar. The Flyers offense wasn’t getting good scoring chances against Thomas, even though they were now out shooting the B’s 9-6. There hard work down low would pay off, as they would draw a slashing penalty from Nathan Horton at 18:43. The Flyers made quick work on their powerplay, as Jaromir Jager found Claude Giroux on a pass up center ice. He skated through center ice, deked right past Zdeno Chara, and deked Tim Thomas in the slot putting the puck in the back of the net. Both powerplays were working tonight, as Philadelphia had tied the game 1-1 at 19:10. The Flyers weren’t done, as they came back with more pressure on Thomas. The puck was sent around the Bruins netminder, and to the high circle far side. A snap shot taken by Jakub Voracek made it through the screen of Tim Thomas. Philadelphia went up 2-1 with just 3 seconds left in the period. The Flyers didn’t score a goal in the final minute at all last year, and they had done it twice already tonight. A stunning turn of events in Boston, as the Bruins went into the 1st intermission down 2-1, after dominating for most of the period.

2nd Period

Boston came out fast to start again, with a great chance by Marchand in the high slot. His shot went into the pads of Bryzgalov. Marchand created another spectacular chance, by taking the puck at center ice. He deked Chris Pronger right out of his skates, dragged the puck into the slot, and tried to drag it across for the back hand shot. Bryzgalov made a tremendous poke check though, denying Marchand of even getting a chance on net. The Bruins were doing a good job of getting shots, but none of them were getting on net. Philly was out shooting Boston 7-1, nearing the midway point in the period. Philly dumped the puck into the Bruins defensive zone, and Chara laid a big hit on Claude Giroux in the Boston corner. Giroux appeared to back into Chara, bracing himself for the hit, and Chara used his big body to push him into the boards. It didn’t look like an illegal hit, as Chara did not drive him into the boards. James van Riemsdyk took it upon himself to start shoving Chara. The big man didn’t like that, and the two grappled briefly. Both players would receive offsetting minors for roughing at 7:26, and they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. It was an uneventful 4-on-4, and they were right back to 5-on-5 hockey. Boston was being outshot 20-7 midway through the 2nd period, and Marchand again tried to get Boston some momentum. A nice feed from Kreci at the point to Marchand in the far slot, allowed Marchand to get off a great backhand shot. But Bryzgalov made a terrific glove save to keep Marchand and the B’s off the board. The Bruins would kill any momentum Marchand might have created, when Dennis Seidenberg would be called for holding on Wade Simmons at 13:11. The Giroux-Jagar combination almost scored again on the Bruins, as Jagar had a tip in the slot that just went wide near side. Good defense by Boston though didn’t allow for another good chance, and Boston would go back on the powerplay right as their penalty ended. Danny Briere would be called for tripping on Rich Peverley at 15:29. This is the powerplay we’re used to seeing, as Philly had better chances on the Bruins powerplay then the B’s did themselves. The penalty was up, with a very weak performance by the Bruins powerplay. Another penalty would follow at 18:41, as Wade Simmons was called for holding on David Kreci. So the Bruins had a chance to strike in the final minute of the 2nd period, just as the Flyers had done in the 1st. Again though, we saw the Flyers getting better scoring chances on the penalty kill then the Bruins could on the powerplay. The 2nd period came to a close, with the game still 2-1 Flyers.

3rd Period

The Bruins began the 3rd period with 41 seconds left on the powerplay. They would not be able to muster anything though, as Philly would come back with good pressure on Thomas. Then a blatant holding of the stick by a Flyer grabbing onto Ference’s stick and would not let go of it near the Boston crease. There then was a big pileup at the net, as Hartnall drove hard to the net for a tip in. Tim Thomas made a great save 5-hole though, as there was no penalty against Philadelphia. The Bruins were having a tough time getting anything going, nearing the midway point of the 3rd period. They would be helped out by another Philly penalty, as Coburn was called for slashing on Marchand at 7:24. Bergeron had a great chance on the powerplay, as he intercepted a Flyers pass in the high slot, and got a wrist shot off on Bryzgalov. But a blocker save by Bryzgalov kept Boston down by 1. The penalty ended without a goal, and we were now midway through the 3rd period with the Bruins still down 2-1. Seconds later, Wade Simmons would again be called for a penalty, this time it was hooking at 10:13. So the Bruins had their 5th powerplay of the night, and a must score at this point. Great set up by Kreci in the far slot, as he found Horton across ice. Bryzgalov couldn’t see anything on a screen by Lucic, and Horton had a wide open net to shoot at. Timonen spun around in the crease, and stopped the puck with his stick to keep it out of the net. Then, Tyler Seguin had a wide open chance to score, but the puck was knocked away by the Flyers defense. A great looking powerplay for the Bruins, which would have had 2 goals if not for the great play by the Flyers defense. The Flyers came back with a chance of their own, as Giroux passed the puck from behind the Boston net to the slot for van Riemsdyk. Thomas made a spectacular left pad save on van Riemsdyk. With under 5 minutes to play, Chris Pronger lost the puck in his own zone to Milan Lucic. He made a quick pass to Kreci into the slot, who took a snap shot on Bryzgalov. The puck hit off the glove of Bryzgalov, and trickled into the crease. Kreci couldn’t reach it though, as Bryzgalov sprang to cover the puck, The Flyers would take the puck back up ice, with Jagr skating up the far side. Johnny Boychuck tried to get in his way, and would be called for holding at 15:39 . A good Bruins penalty kill though would keep the Flyers out of the net, and the game was still 2-1, with 2 minutes to play now. Boston couldn’t get good possession of the puck until the final minute of play, when Thomas would empty the net for the extra attacker. Chara had the puck behind the Flyers net, but had too much pressure and tried to pass it to the slot for a shot attempt. The puck was picked off by Philly, and Brad Marchand made an obvious slash at 19:40, trying to get the puck away. So the Bruins would go on the penalty kill with just 19.9 seconds left in the game, down 2-1. The Bruins were battling hard on the boards to get the puck, when Claude Giroux stepped right in front of Tyler Seguin and reached out with his arm to knock him to the ice. So an interference call with 2.7 seconds left, gave the Bruins one last hope for a goal in a 4-on-4 situation. A pileup on the faceoff, and the puck was somehow shot down the ice by a Flyer as time expired. The Bruins dropped the 1st game of the year to the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1.

Post-Game Breakdown

Well, let’s all just hope that this season ends up just like last year did. An opening night loss with Ilya Bryzgalov in net for the opponents to start the year, and a Stanley Cup Championship to end it. That would be quite the coincidence. As for the game that was, the Bruins suffered a tough loss to the Flyers Thursday night. They got on the board 1st, with the goal by Marchand midway through the 1st period. But some defensive breakdowns late in the 1st allowed the Flyers to take a 2-1 lead. The rest of the game the Bruins looked a little sluggish. They weren’t getting shots on net, even though they were out-chancing the Flyers. The Bruins powerplay was also terrible, as usual. They were just 1-5 on the night, although they should have scored a 2nd powerplay goal in the 3rd period. Alas though, they didn’t get many shots on net, and couldn’t sustain any pressure. Besides the powerplay, (which may never be fixed, and they won the Stanley Cup without one), I think those missed opportunities will be fixed as the year goes on. It’s tough to evaluate a team after just 1 game, but I think this Bruins team will have another great season.

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