BUFFALO Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins tied up with the Sabres at a 1-1 score after the first 20 minutes of play at the First Niagara Center.
1) Dougie Hamilton with his first NHL goal, and it was a power play goal to boot. A nice play all around as he originally found Tyler Seguin wide open in the right circle but the young forward wasnt ready to shoot the puck. Eventually the puck worked over to David Krejci, who fired a shot and then passed the rebounded puck to Hamilton in the slot for a one-timer that found the back of the net. One of the best power plays of the year for both units and it leads to the kids first NHL goal in his 12th game. The goal snaps a six-game pointless streak for the rookie.
2) It hasnt been a great season for Andrew Ference, and that continued on Friday night as a turnover behind his own net turned into a Drew Stafford goal. It looked like his chip attempt hit the linesman and bounced right to Tyler Ennis behind the net, so it was a bit of bad luck.
3) A couple of posts for the Bruins in the first period: one for Milan Lucic after an aggressive fore-check awarded him with the puck in front of the net and the second on a Johnny Boychuk pinch-and-pass to Patrice Bergeron in front of the net. Bergeron rang the puck off the post and the Sabres averted danger
4) Good energy and jump for Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, who have generated scoring chances early and drew a tripping penalty on Drew Stafford. Seguin has attempted four shots with only one of them getting through to the goaltender, but thats the kind of aggressiveness people want to see out of the 21-year-old. He also picked up an assist on Dougie Hamiltons power play goal.
5) Five hits and 2-for-2 on face-offs for Steve Ott, who leveled Seguin when he was about to fire away on a one-timer in front of the net and caused the shot to zoom wide right of the net. Wide right means something in Buffalo, right?
Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering exactly what “semi-exact” means.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Josh Cooper has a piece on Jumbo Joe Thornton bringing an ageless energy to Team Canada.
*If you’re wondering where former B’s farmhand goaltender Jeremy Smith ended up, he’s now with the Colorado Avalanche.
*The Hockey News believes that the Bruins will be back in the playoffs this season after a two-year absence.
*While I appreciate the Hockey News linking to my work, I feel like it’s a key piece of info that I’m the Bruins Insider for CSN New England and not NESN.
*Is Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger the man with the plan to defeat a Team Canada juggernaut in the World Cup of Hockey.
*Dustin Byfuglien had an interesting take on the World Cup after flaming out with Team USA: “It is what it is. I didn’t really enjoy it.”
*For something completely different: this is not your father’s Converse, but it’s a sleek look that the kids are gonna love.
BOSTON – It was an excellent night for the many varied Bruins prospects in the preseason opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The B’s eventually dropped the game in a 3-2 shootout loss at TD Garden, but not before some of their young players showed exactly what they can do.
“For sure it’s a lot of fun. Coming in here everybody’s a little nervous, but it was, once you’re out there, it’s just fun. It was good to see the young guys out there,” said former University of Denver standout Danton Heinen, who scored the tying strike in the third period on a redirect. “It was definitely adjusting. You don’t totally know what to expect and then once the game went on I kind of felt a little more comfortable. We started playing better as a team.”
Former first-round pick Jake DeBrusk set up the B’s first goal with Jimmy Hayes by executing a nifty give-and-go at the Columbus net, and young skaters Jakub Zboril and Austin Czarnik made the initial transition passes that led up to the goal. In the third period Danton Heinen redirected a Brandon Carlo point shot from the slot area, and scored in his first career game played at TD Garden in an impressive show of hand-eye coordination.
Carlo, Czarnik, DeBrusk, Zboril and Heinen all had strong performances on the score sheet and at both ends of the ice, and that’s exactly what the Bruins coaching staff wanted to see with NHL jobs potentially up for grabs in main camp.
“A lot of young players in the lineup, I won’t go through all of them, but I thought quite a few of them acquitted themselves well,” said Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. “They were given opportunities to do that. I think some of them certainly took advantage of it, and did a nice job.”
It was good that the young players stepped up and made a nice impression in the preseason debut because the veteran players will cut into their opportunities once the World Cup of Hockey crew gets sprinkled into the mix starting this week.