The Bruins enjoyed a 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers in Thursday night’s preseason contest at TD Garden. Here are some observations from what a more-entertaining-than-usual preseason game.
– There’s no word yet on what the upper-body injury Zdeno Chara suffered is, but there’s a good chance it occurred on the hit he took from Ryan Bourque. As previously noted, Chara appeared to be OK after the hit, so perhaps he was taken out for precautionary reasons. The Bruins had better hope that’s the case, as they’re already without Dennis Seidenberg.
If Chara is to be out for any stretch of time in the regular season, the Bruins will be without their four-best defensemen from last season’s camp ‘ Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Johnny Boychuk and Seidenberg.
There was another scare on Boston’s defense when Joe Morrow blocked a shot and limped off the ice late in regulation, but he would return to the game.
– Jeremy Smith played the entire game for the Bruins, and there’s no better test for someone trying to prove they can hack it in the NHL than going up against a good lineup (the Rangers had Rick Nash, Kevin Hayes, Keith Yandle and Ryan McDonagh, among others, in the lineup Thursday) without Zdeno Chara in front of you.
Smith allowed three goals, two of which were power play tallies. The lone even-strength goal he allowed came on a Rangers rush during a Boston line change. Smith made the initial save on Brady Skjei’s shot but had it bounce off his back and in. He then allowed a Mats Zuccarello power play goal later in the period and saw a second-period Kevin Hayes shot go off him and in for New York’s second tally on the man advantage.
The 26-year-old netminder had some bright spots as well, stopping Kevin Hayes in the slot on a second-period Rangers power play and then robbing him with a glove save in the third.
– Smith stopped Hayes and Keith Yandle and John Gibbons in the shootout, though he allowed shootout goals to Mats Zuccarello and Dan Boyle. Ryan Bourque hit the post.
Boston got goals from Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano and Brad Marchand.
– Zac Rinaldo swears he’s better than he gets credit for, and based on two preseason games, he may have a case. The numbers through two games: one assist, zero penalty minutes and a whopping four drawn penalties.
Rinaldo picked up an assist on Tyler Randell’s first-period goal, capping a strong shift by feeding the puck to Joe Morrow at the point, with Morrow’s shot being redirected by Randell past Henrik Lundqvist.
The former Flyer drew a period in the second period when he got Ryan McDonagh to break his stick on a slash. In the third period, Rinaldo threw a big (albeit clean) hit on Tommy Hughes in the neutral zone. He was then jumped by Tanner Glass, but Rinaldo kept his gloves on, with Glass being given a roughing minor for the exchange.
Perhaps most surprisingly (and most amusing): Rinaldo tried to show off his hands with a between-the-legs bid off the rush in the second period.
– Speaking of drawing penalties, Ryan Spooner’s line with Jimmy Hayes and Brett Connolly drew a pair on Thursday. Spooner drew a tripping penalty in the first period, while Connolly was slashed by Keith Yandle in the second.
It was a point apiece for the Hayes brothers, as Jimmy capped a very strong shift by picking up the secondary helper on a third-period Brandon Carlo goal.
– With the Bruins trailing in the final minute of regulation, Spooner scored as the extra attacker skating with Patrice Bergeron‘s line. Bergeron skated with Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson Thursday night, an indication that Eriksson could at long last wind up being Bergeron’s right wing.
– Joonas Kemppainen continues to impress. He set up the rush on which Rinaldo got fancy by forcing a turnover at the Bruins’ blueline and taking it the other way.
– Matt Irwin took a penalty during the 3-on-3 overtime, meaning the Rangers got to add a player to the ice rather than the Bruins losing one. Bergeron, Morrow and Adam McQuaid made up Boston’s three-man penalty kill unit. Smith made a number of big saves before the power play was ended by a Rangers too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.
– The Bruins had to mix and match on defense once Chara went down early, but Joe Morrow and Colin Miller skating together was an interesting sight. Such a pairing goes for broke offensively but would likely give Claude Julien anxiety in the defensive zone.