BOSTON -- Perhaps the result shouldnt have been surprising as an AHL team thats been playing together all season, the Providence Bruins, got the better of a group of Bruins players quickly assembling their team for the shortened 48-game season.
But the Bruins also showed the heart of a champion and an unwillingness to let tired skating legs or slow reflexes keep them from fighting back.
Max Sauve had a pair of goals for the P-Bruins and Anton Khudobin survived a shaky second period to lead Providence to a 7-5 win over the Boston Bruins at the Black and Gold scrimmage at TD Garden. Lane MacDermid scored the game-winner when he redirected a long distance shot David Warsofsky shot that eluded Tuukka Rask with less than two minutes to go in the third period.
The victory for the P-Bruins included holding off a furious charge by Boston in the final 10 minutes of the game when goals by David Krejci and Dennis Seidenberg closed the gap and Rich Peverley finally tied things up when he stuffed a shot past Khudobin.
Perhaps the shakiest element of the game was the goaltending as both Khubobin and Rask looked rusty around the net, slow to cover the entire post and very lackadaisical on freezing pucks when in trouble.
In all the two Bs goaltenders surrendered 12 goals (one open net) on 58 shots, and thats not the kind of save percentage that anybody is looking for.
Sauve led the P-Bruins with a pair of goals and three points while Chris Bourque looked very comfortable piling up three points including a second period goal - in his Bruins debut at TD Garden.
Providence added an empty net goal for good measure that accounted for the very un-Bruins-like final score.
GOLD STAR: Chris Bourque finished with three points (a goal and two assists) and was one of the best Boston players out on the ice, but perhaps that shouldnt be a surprise given the fact he was keeping in tip-top condition with Providence at the AHL level. He took a boarding penalty in the first period that was probably ill-advised, but fired a puck past Anton Khudobin from the left face-off circle to open up the Bs second in the second period. He followed that up with a good set-up pass on a third period power play goal for Dennis Seidenberg, and picked up an assist Rich Peverleys game-tying marker in the third. Put Tuesday nights Black and Gold scrimmage down as another check mark in the column for the 26-year-old nailing down that left wing role on the third line.
HONORABLE MENTION: Got to give it up for Max Sauve, who might have been a little miffed he wasnt invited to NHL camp. The France native snapped off a pair of goals for Providence in the victory and finished tied with Chris Bourque for lead scoring honors with three points. He completely faked out Tuukka Rask to open the third period scoring for Providence by making a couple of stick moves while nobody among the Bs defensemen corps reacted to stop him. Sauve has been up and down in Providence this year, but showed once again on Tuesday night that hes got NHL skill.
BLACK EYE: Discounting the empty net goal, Bostons goaltending duo of Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin allowed 11 goals on 57 total shots faced. Neither netminder looked anywhere near ready to start the regular season, but also werent helped out very much by some sloppy defense in front of them. Rask appeared to have a difficult time tracking the puck and several times lost sight of the shot when traffic was kicked up in front of him. Khudobin simply couldnt stop some very easy shots and a couple go right through his pads after getting a clear look at the shooter. Both goalies also looked slow to cover up the post or freeze the puck during moments of trouble, and that could be problematic if they cant wipe that out of their game.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins had fought all the way back from three goals to tie it in the third period, but finally suffered the death blow when Lane MacDermid redirected a shot past Tuukka Rask for the game-winner. That took all of the air out of Bostons sails and really showed that the AHL team had the skating legs to finish things off in the final period of the game. It might be a little stretch of time before Boston has the kind of finishing ability in the third period given the different levels of game condition that players find themselves. It was sloppy hockey at points and thats probably to be expected given the current situation of training camp in January.
BY THE NUMBERS: .750 the save percentage for Tuukka Rask after allowing six goals on 24 shots. Its a good thing this was a scrimmage because it was an U-G-L-Y start for a Finnish netminder looking for a big season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: We seemed like we took it a little light and didnt battle as hard as we wanted to. We had a lot of turnovers that normally we dont make. Weve been off for a long time and were trying to get back into it. We knew wed be rusty, but we have to work harder on some things. Brad Marchand on the sloppy nature of the Bs one and only scrimmage before the regular season begins this weekend.