MONTREAL – As is usually the case in these early preseason games, the Bruins answered some questions and found other areas that could be question marks for their hockey club.
Jarome Iginla is most certainly not one of those question marks, as the 36-year-old future Hall of Famer opened and closed the scoring for the Bruins in a 6-3 victory over the Habs at the Bell Centre. Nick Johnson added two goals for the Black and Gold in the impressive exhibition opener that saw them sneak past the hated Habs, but not everything was rosy for the Black and Gold.
New goaltender Chad Johnson wasn’t impressive in his first showing in a Bruins opener, and leaves some questions about the backup goaltending situation for Boston behind Tuukka Rask. Johnson simply missed with his glove hand on Montreal’s first shot of the game, and the rebound turned into a Travis Moen scoring deflection in front of the net.
Johnson also simply lost track of a PK Subban blast from the high point in the second period on a Montreal power play, and ended up allowing three goals on only eight shots faced before giving way to Malcolm Subban.
Milan Lucic found David Krejci with another cross-ice pass in the third period, and the center roofed a one-timer to the top right corner to give the Bruins added insurance. Zach Trotman added insult to injury with a sizzling slap shot from inside the blue line to make it a laugher at Montreal’s expense.
GOLD STAR: If Jarome Iginla was driving to make a good first impression with the Bruins, he did just exactly that in his preseason opener against the Montreal Canadiens. Iginla opened the scoring by firing a laser one-timer from the left face-off circle off a cross-ice pass from Milan Lucic, and showed exactly the kind of lethal shooting Boston’s been missing for the last few years. Iginla also scored another goal in the third period to help key an outburst that turned the game into a blowout, and led the Bruins with six shots on net. In all Iginla generated 12 shots and seemed to have instant chemistry with Lucic and David Krejci. Not bad at all for the new guy.
HONORABLE MENTION: Torey Krug led the Bruins with 22:20 of ice time, finished with three assists and blocked three shots while looking smooth as silk on Boston’s power play. He led an impressive showing from fellow young defensemen Matt Bartkowski (two assists) and Zach Trotman (booming slap shot goal) in the win over the Canadiens, and further served to show that his performance in last year’s playoffs was far from aberrational. Both Krug and David Krejci looked very good working the point with Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic and Carl Soderberg on the power play.
BLACK EYE: On the other end of the struggling spectrum, Chad Johnson was pretty awful in his first audition as the B’s backup netminder. He didn’t see a shot for the first 12 minutes of the game, and then whiffed on a Louis Leblanc shot from the left point that eventually turned into a Travis Moen deflection in front. He also lost track of a P.K. Subban shot from the high point that was through some traffic, but could have been stopped. The Max Pacioretty power play goal clearly wasn’t his fault, but his night was done after allowing three goals on eight shots. Johnson wasn’t an established NHL goalie heading into training camp, and he didn’t look one in his 30 minutes of work Monday night.
TURNING POINT: Once the Bruins changed out Chad Johnson for Malcolm Subban in net, things actually stabilized a bit for Boston and allowed them to score three unanswered goals in the third period for the one-sided final score. The scores from Iginla, David Krejci and Zach Trotman turned a competitive game into garbage time halfway through the third period. Subban stopped all 12 shots that he faced including a couple of solid saves, and looked better than he has at any point in rookie camp or NHL training camp with the Bruins. It may be that the big stage brings out the best in the former first round pick, and that’s not such a bad thing at all.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the number of power play goals scored by the Bruins in their 6-3 win in the preseason opener. It took Boston the first 10 games of last season to total four power play goals.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s nice to see that one-timer from the right shot, which is what [Iginla] has been giving us. We seemed to be struggling for the last few years with finding somebody that could shoot that puck that accurately.” –Claude Julien on Jarome Iginla’s impact in the four power play goal outburst in Monday night’s 6-3 win.