Man is it good to see some NHL hockey again. For those of you who have NHL Network, that is.
The Bruins kicked off their preseason with a 6-3 win over the Canadiens in the Bell Centre behind an outburst of four power play goals.
New addition (and still not a total fan favorite) Jarome Iginla tallied two goals, one of them a one-timer from a Milan Lucic cross-ice pass on the power play to open the scoring 8:29 of the first. He added his second of the night in the third, ripping a wrist shot past Canadiens goalie Robert Mayer. David Krejci also added a power play goal of his own in the third.
The new top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla recorded six points in total, with Lucic having assisted on both of Iginla's goals, as well as Krejci's goal.
The other Bruins goals were scored by fourth line hopeful Nick Johnson and dfenseman Zach Trotman.
Beating the Habs is always a good thing, so lets take nothing away from this Bruins W. But it is just the first preseason game, and the results should not influence either way your thoughts on either team heading into the new year.
Instead, these collective two weeks in late September will be used to assess how this Bruins team can plug the holes left over from a short off season that saw key veterans depart from the roster.
The areas in question include:
How well can Iginla fill the shoes left from new Bluejacket Nathan Horton? The first game action for the new first line was not shabby at all. Iginla is very similar in play style and body type to Horton, so you can imagine that he will fit perfectly skating with Krejci and Lucic. So far so good.
Can the young trio of Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton take that next step in their progression? Which of the three will step into the spot Andrew Ference leaves behind and prove they deserve to be an everyday NHL defender.
Can new winger Loui Eriksson slide seamlessly into the goal scoring void left by Tyler Seguin and fly alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron? Its well known that Marchand and Seguin shared a wicked bromance, so Marchand seeing his buddy jettisoned off to Dallas has to disappoint him. Eriksson can make Marchand forget all about Seguin after Loui feeds him for the first one-timer of the season.
Can captain Zdeno Chara continue his trademark dominate play? The Big Man turned 36 years old in March, and he endured yet another grueling postseason run this past year. We saw Chara's play dip in the later games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the odometer on the tires is getting into the 100,000 territory. Again, the emergence of the three young kids on D will be key in keeping Chara fresh through the year.
Cangoalie Tuukka Rask back up his new mega-deal with another Vezina-caliber season? Rask took a gamble last year signing a one-year contract, setting up a "show me" scenario where his performance would dictate his following deal. Well, as we all remember, Rask was outstanding, especially in the playoff run, and he got paid big time. Now he needs to show that last year wasn't a fluke.
All of these questions will be answered over the course of the upcoming year, starting on October 3. For now, these next two weeks of preseason action will serve as an opportunity for some of the younger players on the roster to get some NHL experience before either being sent back to their respective junior teams or back to Providence.