SASKATOON -- The Bruins felt like they were ready to start the regular season prior to Friday night's preseason finale against the Winnipeg Jets. Then they went out and proved it by soundly thumping the Jets to a 5-0 tune at the Credit Union Centre home of the Saskatoon Blades.
Carl Soderberg scored first for Boston by crashing the net for a loose puck in front off a Reilly Smith shot, and Johnny Boychuk followed by hammering a right point shot past Winnipeg goalie Al Montoya in the game's opening few minutes.
Then it became a battle of the bubble players in the final two periods with first Jordan Caron, and then Nick Johnson, scoring goals for the Black and Gold. It's expected that Caron and Johnson were fighting for the spare forward spot on Boston's roster in a close race, and goals from both players definitely added some intrigue to the proceedings.
Patrice Bergeron scored to make it a five goal margin of victory for the Black and Gold.
The game was never in doubt, and Tuukka Rask finished with 20 saves to complete the shutout win for Boston in the exhibition season.
GOLD STAR: Jordan Caron finished with three shots on net, played a physical brand of hockey and finally scored a goal in the second period to put some points on the board in the preseason. Caron has been a physical presence in the last few games for the Black and Gold, but needed to show a little production along with the rugged side to his game. He did that in his final preseason chance to show enough to remain on the roster while watching Nick Johnson also score a goal in their similar quest to secure the spare forward spot. The Bruins were waiting for No. 38 to show them something, and he might have done enough tonight.
BLACK EYE: No shots for Evander Kane tonight, and I’m not sure I’d have believed he actually played in this one unless I’d seen his No. 9 Winnipeg jersey with my own eyes. Kane was pretty good on Thursday night and there were other big guns in the Jets lineup during their final preseason tilt, but the power forward really didn’t show much of anything for a Jets team that seemed to be counting the seconds down until the exhibition game was over.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins finished the game off early when Carl Soderberg and Johnny Boychuk scored goals just minutes into the contest, and made Al Montoya look like a bewildered goaltender between the pipes. The rest was up to a Bruins team that outshot Winnipeg by a 32-21 margin through the one-sided 60 minute affair that officially closes the books on the preseason for both clubs.
HONORABLE MENTION: Johnny Boychuk finished up a strong preseason with a sizzling shot from the right point for a goal in the first period, and a pass that set up Nick Johnson’s goal in the third period. Boychuk formed a solid defensive pair with Matt Bartkowski that might just start the season together, and clearly showed they were ready to pick things up once the regular season begins.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the number of goals for Nick Johnson, who ended up leading the Bruins in goals while playing very well in a handful of auditions for the reserve forward spot with Boston.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “As soon as we stepped on a plane that was headed to Winnipeg and Saskatoon, everybody said ‘let’s get this thing done.’ It hasn’t been too long, but we’ve had enough games now.” –Tuukka Rask when asked if he was getting a bit restless toward the end of the preseason.