Maybe it’s appropriate that the best comments on the Bruins’ lack of offensive finish in a 6-2 season-opening loss Thursday night came from their goalie.

On a night when the Bruins outchanced the visiting Winnipeg Jets badly in the first period, Tuukka Rask had to make several saves close in to preserve a 1-0 lead heading into the first period. There were chances from Ryan Spooner, Brett Connolly and Brad Marchand, all in close and around Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec minutes after the Bruins were staked to a lead on a pretty goal from David Krejci.

“I mean I think most importantly, we want to take that offense,” Tuukka Rask said of what he saw from his vantage point 180 feet away. “We created a ton of chances, and had a chance to score way more goals than we did, so I think that’€™s the most important thing to take from this game.”

There was the sense as the Jets tied the game, and eventually took the lead for good at 2-1, they were dictating the pace and using Boston’s desperation against them.

“When we start cheating offensively a little bit, then one mistake leads to another very quickly, and we did that today a couple times,” Rask said. “It’€™s a process in the making, and we just have to correct some things out, but it’€™ll be good.”

Patrice Bergeron was another player who had his chances from close range but could not finish to beat Pavelec.

“It definitely would have been nice to come out of that [first] period with more than one goal,” Bergeron said. “That definitely wouldn’€™t have hurt us. Looking back in the second, we had a few breakdowns that they capitalized, which we didn’€™t. That was the story of the game right there. We definitely lost momentum, yeah – we got to find ways to score when we do have our chances and generate some more momentum with that.”

The Bruins outshot the Jets, 14-6, in the first 20 minutes and headed into the first intermission with a power play, thanks to a cheap shot elbow to the face of Bergerson by Jets defenseman Alexander Burmistrov.

“I think it would’€™ve been nice to come out of there with a better lead than we did after the first with the type of opportunities that we had,” Claude Julien said, echoing the words of Bergeron. “It should’€™ve been a two- or three-goal period. But we misfired or missed those opportunities and allowed them to stay in the game. And then the second period they came out and kind of took over and we started making some defensive mistakes. Whether, I thought, whether it was coverage, layers, or whether their was decisions with the puck or D-zone awareness, we made all of those mistakes tonight which resulted in goals against.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Matt Irwin was a minus-3 Thursday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Matt Irwin was a minus-3 Thursday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If you were worried about the Bruins’€™ defense being a disaster with Dougie Hamilton gone and Zdeno Chara banged up, your worst fears were realized in Thursday night’€™s season-opening loss against the Jets.

The game actually didn’€™t start off too badly at all. The Bruins were on the attack most of the first period and the defense didn’€™t really give the Jets any good looks on the few occasions they did get into the Bruins’€™ zone.

But then the second period happened. The Jets’€™ first goal came off a combination of all three Bruins forwards getting caught up ice and Joe Morrow not putting enough on his pass into the neutral zone, leading to an easy interception for Dustin Byfuglien and an odd-man rush the other way.

The second came off a brutal turnover by Matt Irwin behind the Bruins’€™ net, as Andrew Ladd picked his pocket clean before setting up former Bruin Blake Wheeler right in front. The third resulted from another tough sequence for Irwin and defensive partner Zach Trotman. Trotman couldn’€™t get his stick on a pass through the slot that went right by him, and then Irwin compounded that by completely losing track of his man and allowing Drew Stafford an easy finish on the doorstep.

Things didn’€™t get any better in the third. After the Bruins cut the deficit to 3-2, Irwin got caught pinching in the offensive zone (as you’€™ve probably gathered by now, the UMass product did not have a good night) and David Krejci, who was the closest to being able to cover for Irwin, could not keep up with Chris Thorburn on the rush the other way. The Jets then made it 5-2 when Torey Krug couldn’€™t clear out 5-foot-9 Nicolas Petan and watched a centering pass bounce off Petan’€™s skate and in.

‘€œI think the examples are pretty clear of where we made those mistakes and where it cost us goals,’€ Claude Julien said after the game. ‘€œIt was clear right from the get-go there, so it’€™s going to be easy to show those kinds of things. We’€™re early in the season, you’€™ve got to show those kinds of things. We’€™ve got to work and rectify those things as soon as possible.’€

It’€™s true that Thursday night was only one game. And it’€™s true that Chara probably won’€™t miss too many more games, if any. But Thursday night still has to be highly concerning for the Bruins and their fans.

This defense was projected to be a weakness for good reason. It’€™s inexperienced. It has guys who are best-suited for third-pairing roles playing on the second pairing (and with Chara out, the first pairing). It has stay-at-home guys who don’€™t contribute much offensively and offensive-minded players who have yet to prove they can be trusted with tough defensive assignments, with Chara being the only one you’€™re confident can do both.

All of those concerns were brought to light Thursday night. When you add in forwards cheating to the offensive side of the puck and a couple bad line changes, you get a total disaster.

‘€œAll you have to do is do your job,’€ Morrow said, echoing Bill Belichick. ‘€œWe’€™re just trying to maintain things and get a little better every day, and with that experience will come better play and more comfortable defense pairings and little things like that. The performance tonight was inexcusable. It wasn’€™t what we wanted. It wasn’€™t nearly what we expected.’€

The Bruins’€™ defense will almost certainly start to look at least a little better, especially when Chara returns. Even at age 38, he’€™s still a bona fide No. 1 defenseman who should almost single-handedly give the B’€™s a solid top pairing, even if it isn’€™t on the level of last year’€™s Chara-Hamilton pairing.

But how much better this group gets will be the biggest question the Bruins face all season. Thursday night dispelled the fantasy that maybe this group would somehow be way ahead of where anyone expected, that maybe some of these unprovens would grab top-four roles and run with them right from the get-go.

As it turns out, and as we all expected, the Bruins really are starting from scratch on the blue line. They have a long way to go, and Thursday night made that crystal clear.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

Claude Julien wasn’t happy about his team’s performance in Thursday night’s season-opening loss to the Jets, but his criticism extended past his players to one Alexander Burmistrov.

The Bruins missed Zdeno Chara badly in Thursday's season-opener.</p>
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DJ Bean checks in live from TD Garden after the Bruins 6-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in the season opener. Ken Laird anchors from the Podcentre

[0:02:52] ... second period he couldn't settle out yeah actually get pretty about locked. Chris Kelly obviously did not shot blocked off. Off off the readout from I wanna say it was paid. A lot of really good ...
[0:04:36] ... Know what does not mean on the growing type I still keep. Charlie Villanueva 1000000% ready but I think that on the back end you know it is very much be glued situation that are with ...
[0:05:50] ... we certainly saw that. The night after the giveaway for all your Boston Bruins cover they'll get checked out roads page in the big bad blog at WB I dot com. Or search Boston Bruins hockey on iTunes podcast app you'll find archive Bruins jets. For DJ dean I can Laird says date WEEI dot com post game ...

Claude Julien wasn’t happy about his team’s performance in Thursday night’s season-opening loss to the Jets, but his criticism extended past his players to one Alexander Burmistrov.

The Jets forward cut back to catch Patrice Bergeron with an elbow to the head late in the first period of Winnipeg‘s 6-2 win over the Bruins. Bergeron, who has had a number of concussions in his career, was irate with Burmistrov following the play, taking a cross-checking penalty in retaliation.

Though Burmistrov was given a minor penalty for an illegal hit to the head, Julien said after the game that the play deserves supplemental discipline.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’€™t be further consequences [for] that.”

Said Bergeron: “It was a hit to the head. Even though he apologized after, it’€™s one of those that I didn’€™t have the puck at that time. You have to realize where the guy is and his position.’€

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Without Zdeno Chara, the Bruins’€™ defense figured to be suspect at best. At least there were no surprises on opening night.

Zach Trotman and Boston's defense struggled mightily Thursday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Zach Trotman and Boston’s defense struggled mightily Thursday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Without Zdeno Chara, the Bruins’€™ defense figured to be suspect at best. At least there were no surprises on opening night.

Playing without their captain, Boston’€™s defense fell apart after the first period, allowing three goals in each of the last two periods as the Jets took a 6-2 victory in Boston’€™s season-opener.

The most egregious misplay came from newcomer Matt Irwin, who coughed up the puck behind Boston’€™s net with the game tied at one. Jets captain Andrew Ladd picked the puck cleanly from Irwin and fed former Bruin Blake Wheeler, who beat Tuukka Rask to give Winnipeg the lead. At least one of Irwin or partner Zach Trotman were on the ice for four of five goals against on the night, excluding Winnipeg‘s empty netter with 3:38 left to play.

The night actually started out well for the B’€™s, who controlled play in the first period and got the game’€™s first goal from David Krejci. The B’€™s failed to cash in on their subsequent chances however, and when play turned sloppy in the second, the game slipped away.

Such a turn of events wasn’€™t too shocking. Things can go south quickly when a team doesn’€™t have a good blue line and the Bruins learned that the hard way Thursday.

Here are four more things we learned in the season-opener.


For as much as Rask had to play last season, he didn’€™t get lit up frequently. Thursday saw him allow five goals, something he only did three times last season.

Rask is obviously one of the best goaltenders in the world, but with Boston’€™s sloppy showing in front of him from the start of the second period on, he had his work cut out for him. It actually could have been worse, as Rask stopped Andrew Ladd on a shorthanded breakaway.


Patrice Bergeron doesn’€™t go ballistic on his opponents often, but Alexander Burmistrov can probably join Alexander Burrows and Jeff Skinner’€™s club after Thursday.

With Bergeron chasing after a puck deep in Boston’€™s zone late in the first period, Burmistrov cut back and caught Bergeron in the face with an elbow. Bergeron bolted after the Jets forward immediately and a scrum ensued. Burmistrov got two minutes for an illegal check to the head and Adam Lowry got a roughing minor, while Bergeron was given a minor for cross-checking.


Pastrnak brought the Bruins within one in the third period with a dart of a wrist shot that beat Ondrej Pavelec short-side, but it was a play on which he didn’€™t get a point at all that may have been most encouraging.

The second-year player isn’€™t going to be an overly physical player because, well, he can’€™t be. Though remarkably skilled, the slender 19-year-old is at risk of getting pushed around by bigger, stronger players.

That’€™s why it was a very positive sign when Pastrnak was able to steal the puck behind the Winnipeg to set up up David Krejci‘€™s goal. After forcing the turnover, Pastrnak swung around and sent the puck to the front of the net. Krejci got a stick on Winnipeg’€™s attempt to get it out and backhanded it past Pavelec to five the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

Pastrnak didn’€™t get an assist on the play because he didn’€™t get the puck to Krejci cleanly, but the fact that he was able to win a puck by having a good stick was a good sign that the teenager can be resourceful.


During pregame introductions, Zac Rinaldo got more boos than any other home player. The boo birds (not a large group and certainly a group drowned out by cheers) at TD Garden quickly learned that the weren’€™t alone when Adam Lowry tripped Rinaldo on the fourth line’€™s first shift of the game.

The fact that Rinaldo’€™s opponents don’€™t like him for his past sins could be a very good thing for the Bruins, as long as he can play within the lines and draw penalties. Rinaldo was able to do that during the preseason, but a player with a reputation like Rinaldo’€™s might have a hard time behaving for 82 games.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The only time Claude Julien had more new faces to open a season with the Bruins, his was technically the new one.

“My first year I had over twenty new guys,” Julien said Thursday morning with a grin. “I didn’€™t know anybody, right?”

When Julien and the Bruins begin the season Thursday night, he will likely have five players making their Bruins debuts in Jimmy Hayes, Matt Beleskey, Joonas Kemppainen, Matt Irwin and Zac Rinaldo. That ties 2007-08, Julien’€™s first season with the B’€™s, as the most new Bruins in an opening night lineup in the Julien era, not counting backup goalies.

Between Julien’€™s first season and now, the most new Bruins on an opening night was three, which came in 2010-11 (Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin) and 2013-14 (Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith). The Bruins have often had remarkably little roster turnover. Last season, for example, Bobby Robins was the only newbie in the lineup to begin the season.

Of course, players such as Robins who were in the organization beforehand had at least some comfort level with the B’€™s. All five of the new Bruins for Thursday’€™s opener were brought in this offseason in either trades or free agency. The number could have been even higher Thursday, but trade acquisition Colin Miller and 2009 sixth-round pick Tyler Randell are expected to be healthy scratches.

‘€œI think it’€™s been a good three-plus weeks where we’€™ve been able to kind of work individually as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,’€ Julien said. ‘€œEverything right now, we’€™re pleased with it, we’€™re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too. I don’€™t have any issues with the number of new players. I just have a preoccupation with getting the whole group ready to play here tonight.’€

Beleskey will play on David Krejci‘€™s line with David Pastrnak, while Hayes will start off playing left wing with Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly. Kemppainen and Rinaldo will skate on the fourth line with Chris Kelly. The only newcomer expected on the blue line Thursday, Irwin figures to be paired with Zach Trotman.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance on Ordway, Merloni and Fauria on Thursday to preview the Bruins’ season.