The Bruins home opener began with Bobby Orr and Milt Schmidt bringing the sold out crowd at TD Garden to its collective feet. It ended with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron eliciting the same reaction from the 17,000+ on hand, only this time there was a horn involved.
Bergeron’s season debut played out to perfection. Boston’s alternate captain, who missed the opening three games with a lower-body injury, notched the game-winner with 75 seconds remaining in the final frame.
“After being out for a week, he comes back and scored a clutch goal for us,” coach Claude Julien said of Bergeron following Thursday’s victory. “ And that’s what he’s always been, a clutch player.”
Marchand, Bergeron’s sidekick in domestic and international competitions, continued his stretch of worldwide dominance, as well. Boston’s elite pest fired a wrist shot through the legs of Devils captain Andy Greene and past the glove of the previously unbeatable Cory Schneider at 9:47 of the third period, pulling Boston even.
“I was trying to shoot through [Greene’s] legs. I wasn’t trying to pick that corner. I was just hoping it went on net, went in or created a rebound,” Marchand said to a group of reporters — a group roughly half the size of the scrum surrounding Bergeron’s stall. “If you shoot the puck, good things happen.”
In net, Tuukka Rask, with the calming poise of an ancient wizard, turned aside 28 Devils shots — 15 of which came during the games middle frame. The lone puck to sneak past Rask was a Kyle Palmieri shot that deflected off the skate of Brandon Carlo with 15:46 remaining in the third.
Carlo would atone for the bad bounce later in the period. With under a minute remaining, and David Backes serving a roughing penalty following a bit of wrasslin’ with Taylor Hall, the Bruins faced a 6v4 deficit.
Carlo, the teams youngest player, played a pivotal role in Boston hanging on, blocking two shots in the games waning moments.
The night could have been easier for the Bruins, but Marblehead, Massachusetts native Cory Schneider instead chose to prove why he’s one of the leagues top netminders. Schneider made 34 saves, highlighted a then-game-saving stop on David Backes moments after Palmieri’s tie-breaking score.
Boston had an impressive four-line rotation Thursday night, highlighted by the continued emergence of the fourth line. Tim Schaller, Dominic Moore and Noel Acciari combined for 6 shots, spending the majority of their shifts applying pressure in the Devils end.
Home Depot (David Backes) and Torey Krug led the B’s with 6 shots apiece. Ageless wonder Zdeno Chara logged a team-high 24:53 of TOI, while the Large Son, Jimmy Hayes, played a team-low 9:53.
Boston returns to action Saturday night, when they host the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden at 7 pm. Expect to see some fireworks.
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