Bruins crush Habs in Halifax, 7-3


Bruins crush Habs in Halifax, 7-3

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

HALIFAX Any win over the Canadiens feels good for a member of the Bruins, so there was happiness in Halifax as the Bs took it to Montreal in their first of back-to-back preseason games North of the Border.

The Bruins scored a pair of short-handed goals and overwhelmed Montreal goalie Peter Budaj in a 30-shot attack that finished with a 7-3 victory for the Bs at the Halifax Metro Centre. It had the extra bit of sweetness when Brad Marchand who grew up just 10 minutes outside of Halifax celebrated his homecoming with a goal.

Joe Corvo and Gregory Campbell opened up the scoring with goals in a chippy first period, and the Bruins really exploded in the middle 20 minutes with an impressive show of special teams. Marchand knocked home the rebound of a Chris Clark shot on the power play, and then both Daniel Paille and Zdeno Chara added shorthanded goals to push Boston far ahead of their ancient hockey rivals.

Tyler Seguin finished things off for the Bruins with a beauty of a goal in the third period. Seguin had a strong effort from beginning to end, and thoroughly beat Peter Budaj after taking it up to the right wing and firing from the face-off circle.

There were plenty of punishing hits being delivered all over the ice, and the first period was punctuated by a bout between Alex Henry and Shawn Thornton that ended up in a draw.

GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand had 50 friends and relatives in the house -- and he didn't disappoint them. Running around doing his agitating thing, Marchand scored in front of the hometown crowd when he potted the rebound of a Chris Clark shot for a power play goal. Appropriately Marchand heard a chorus of mixed boos and cheers when he scored in front of a Halifax barn filled with testy Habs fans, but it didnt take anything away from his hometown moment. Marchand has looked good in camp, and appears as ready as any other veteran to strap on the hockey pads and get after it for another season. It speaks to the work he put in back in Halifax once his Boston partying ways were done after winning the Cup.

HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin scored a sweet goal on a rush up the right wing and actually assisted on Jordan Carons third-period strike though he was robbed by the Halifax scorekeepers and looked every bit the improved product hes seemed in training camp. Seguin set a tone for the evening by speeding around and getting himself physically involved in the game over his first couple of shifts, and the hard work carried over into offensive production. If Seguin plays like that more often than not, hes going to enjoy a very good season for the Bs.

BLACK EYE: Peter Budaj was brutal for the Canadiens, giving up seven goals. Budaj has to assume he wont play all that often sitting behind Carey Price this season in Montreal, but he needs to stop a puck or two when he is in there. The first goal he gave up to Joe Corvo was a bad angle softie, and things just got worse from there.

TURNING POINT: At the end of a chippy first period that saw the Bruins build a narrow 2-1 lead, Shawn Thornton and Alex Henry pummeled each other to a pretty good draw that seemed to reel things back under control. The bout was a far cry from the beating Thornton put on Henry during the infamous Barber Pole Sweater game in Montreal back in 2009, but the enforcers need to get themselves ready for the hockey season as well.

BY THE NUMBERS: 27 the number of saves for Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin, who looked sharp in his likely only start of the preseason. Khudobin is a goalie the Bs targeted in the Minnesota organization before dealing for him, and he continues to look like good insurance in case anything goes awry with the Tim ThomasTuukka Rask partnership this season. Hes been called the Euro-Tim Thomas in Bs circles over the last few years, and he looked like it Sunday night.

QUOTE TO NOTE: I think those were the Montreal fans. Theyre a little bitter about the way things went last year, but thats the way it goes. Any time they boo us its a good thing. Brad Marchand talking about the loud mixture of boos and cheers that accompanied his return to the home rink in Halifax playing against a crowd heavy with Habs fans.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.