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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bruins Register Their First Win Of 2011-12

You have to give the NHL schedule makers credit; even though they weren't able to get the Montreal Canadiens in town for when the Boston Bruins raised their Stanley Cup banner from the 2010-11 season, having the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden for the first two games of the 2011-12 season was pretty sweet.

After understandably sleepwalking a bit on Thursday vs. Philly, the B's (1-1-0) looked like a different team tonight as they beat the Lightning (1-1-0) 4-1. After facing their opponents from the Eastern Conference Semifinals and Finals in succession, you wish that the Vancouver Canucks were up next (they're not) but you can't complain.

Rich Peverley led Boston with two goals (his first two of the season) while Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand added two assists apiece. Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (1-1-0) picked up his first win of the season thanks to a tidy 25 save effort.

Tampa Bay played in Carolina last night (winning 5-1) and they seemed to leave all their energy there, along with starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Mathieu Garon (38 saves) got the start and showed why he backs up a guy that turns 42 this week (!). The B's outshot them every period and finished with a wide advantage in shots (42-27), something that rarely happens that much for the defensive-minded Bruins.

The game was full of penalties but neither team could take advantage as Boston was 0 for 6 and Tampa Bay was 0 for 5 on the power play. Marchmont's power play goal on Opening Night feels like a lifetime ago. Speaking of the Lightning, it only took about one period to remember how they play Montreal's typical slimy style. All talk and flopping, no backing it up physically. It's pathetic and with the talent they have, utterly despicable.

The first period was scoreless, Peverley cashed in at 2:04 of the second period when Marchand's shot hit both posts and bounced right to him on the doorstep. Johnny Boychuk had the second assist.

The always pesky Martin St. Louis tied it up only 1:16 with the 300th goal of the his career, beating his former teammate (Thomas) at UVM. Ryan Malone and Vincent Lecavalier assisted on St. Louis' goal as a turnover in the neutral zone led to a breakaway.

Daniel Paille (first of the season) put the Bruins ahead for good as he tipped in Adam McQuaid's shot from the point at 4:58 of the second. Seguin started it with a pretty drop pass to Darth Quaider. Side note, I'm kicking myself for not drafting Seguin in either of my Fantasy leagues, he already looks so much more comfortable in just his second year in the NHL.

David Krejci (first of the season) got on the scoreboard with a goal at 3:07 of the third period from Milan Lucic and Seguin. It was a pure snipe from a guy that led the B's in goals during the Stanley Cup run (that'll be good trivia some day).

Peverley and Co. ended it as he scored his second goal at 8:43 from Patrice Bergeron and Marchand. Putting Peverley on the second line (in Mark Recchi's place) has made that trio (Bergeron, Marchand, Peverley) so much more dynamic. Right now, they look better than Boston's top line (Lucic, Krejci, Nathan Horton) but that's neither here nor there.

Benoit Pouliot had his first game in a Bruins uniform as he was on the third line instead of Jordan Caron. It was a very small sample size (7:42, 14 shifts) but I have to say I liked what I saw from the former first-round pick of Minnesota. The ex-Canadien had two shots and two hits so you can't argue about that production in such limited time.

The Bruins are back at it on Monday afternoon (Columbus Day) as the Colorado Avalanche come to TD Garden. Expect Tuukka Rask to get the start as head coach Claude Julien has pledged to give Thomas more rest during the regular season.

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