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Preseason: Bruins win in Shootout, Rookies Make Impact

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A game of back-and-forth hockey with lots of action. At least, I think so, because it's the preseason and this game was only available via away-broadcast radio.

Danton Heinen shines against the Flyers among young Bruins skaters.
Danton Heinen shines against the Flyers among young Bruins skaters.

Away game in the preseason = difficult viewing options. Last night's game was unavailable, at least to me, on television.

A lack of video broadcast =/= boring hockey. My heart was pounding by the end of this game, because the suspense via a missing sense (sight, in this case, of the game) was great. Philly's radio hosts truly made it interesting and called it very fairly.

First Period

Starts off with some back-and-forth play; chalk it up to missed passes and some wide-of-net shots. Jimmy Hayes uses a check to separate Flyers defenseman Ivan Provarov from the puck and creates a shot... something we should hope to see more often. David Backes reminds Sean Couturier that he is a face-off winner, taking three early in the period and originally getting credit for Heinen's tip-in goal at just under 3 minutes played in the game. Malcolm Subban would be mostly spared in this period, facing just three shots before the 10-minute mark - yet, also allowing the first goal of the game. His team struggled to block for him in the second half of the period, allowing six more shots, and the pace ramped up near the end of the period, seeing a combined 14 hits, four penalties (2 each) and 2 goalposts hit (1 each) between the teams in the period. 1-1 tie goes into the second.

Second Period

The Bruins begin the 2nd on the power play, for about a minute. David Bacstrnak puts another goal on the board for the Bruins; Philly answers about two minutes later. Two minutes after that, the Flyers had received and succeeded in scoring on a power play, and yet another two-ish minutes later, they're on the man advantage again... and, from what it sounded like on the radio, the puck only momentarily made it into the offensive zone most of the time, unless Bacstrnak and Danton Heinen are on... in which case, the puck ends up in the net again. The second period ends tied at 3, with some imbalance in attack time in the Flyers' favor.

Third Period

Couturier comes out fired up, taking several early faceoffs with the period. Casto takes an early penalty - now the fifth of the game for the Bruins - and this give the Flyers the rhythm to string together several solid minutes of offensive zone time, getting five shots through in the first half of the period with an additional two blocks. It's around the midpoint of the period that I start to notice how much more loudly the glass is rattling, even above the voices of the announcers; the physicality of the game has ramped up, led by early hits from Riley Nash and Colby Cave and exceeded by Philly's effort later in the period. Backes steps up in the last five minutes, winning three face-offs, and it gets under Couturier's skin, who trips Bruins defenseman Colin Miller with 0:47 to play. It was at this point that I realized that, if this was how I had to digest half of my yearly intake of hockey games, I'd be OK with it. (Note that I'd still want the Bruins to be in the TV-digested half, not the radio half, but I could follow other league games in this media.)

3-3 tie survives the period, and the Bruins head to OT on the power play.

OT

Bruins power play ends without a goal, but not for a lack of effort, with four shot events (3 on, 1 block) on Michal Neuvirth in the first minute. The middle of the OT sounds conservative, and then a Too Many Men penalty is called on the Bruins with 1:21 to go, which they manage to kill. I say they, but by the way of the announcers' excitement while calling save after save by Malcolm Subban, it feels like he was the one who made it happen. The official box score only lists three shots, but it absolutely sounded like more. Overtime ends without a game-winner, and we go to the shootout.

Shootout

If I could see this game, I might give a better description - alas, radio has the disadvantage in the shootout. After Jordan Weal scored on Philly's first attempt, the Flyers shooters missed one and had another saved by Subban while Boston got their next two, from Heinen and Jake DeBrusk.

Final Thoughts

With today's news that the Bruins sent 22 players packing, including potential veteran addition Peter Mueller, there's a whiff of "the future is now" in the air. Heinen has been valuable, if not exceptional, and with a rebound performance from Ryan Spooner in their last game against Detroit followed by Backes' performance last night, there's no immediate need to pad the team's depth at forward. They'd be wise, pending a successful PTO, to bring in Christian Ehrhoff to pad their defensive depth. Goalie depth has been addressed and Subban should see some more preseason time to really get a gauge on where he stands, only fortifying the crease for the Bruins.