From a Bruins point of view, there was plenty to like about Monday night’s 4-2 win over Chicago at the TD Garden. Here are thoughts on five players:
Subban played a good game, making 24 saves. The highlight came in the third period when he made three dazzling stops in a scramble around his net. The athleticism he displayed in that sequence is what continues to make Subban, 23, an intriguing prospect, even after four years in the AHL.
Subban has had some tough outings at the Garden, so it was nice to see him get a little love from the crowd. “I’m not gonna lie. It felt pretty good,’’ he said with a smile after the game. “I just tried to stay focused and dialed in … and finish strong.’’
If the Bruins send Subban to Providence, as appears likely as long as Anton Khudobin doesn’t fall on his face in the final week of camp, he will have to pass through waivers. He is playing well right now, which makes you wonder if there is a team out there that might be willing to take a shot.
Paired with Charlie McAvoy, O’Gara led all Bruins in ice time with 22:28 and recorded two hits and blocked two shots.
The former Yale defenseman played with a lot of confidence. “That’s the biggest thing for me. I’m able to play my game when I’m most comfortable, most involved. Getting involved early on helped me play with confidence the rest of the game,’’ he said.
O’Gara, according to coach Bruce Cassidy, is “really closing well, defending hard. He’s working on making that good first pass. I liked his game. I’ve liked his whole camp.” Me, too.
It was another positive night for Bjork, who had a nice finish on a pass by Patrice Bergeron. Pencil him in at right wing with Brad Marchand and Bergeron on opening night and get your popcorn ready.
“He’s got skill, speed, and courage. He gets to the dirty areas. He’s hard to play against, second effort on pucks. It’s not one-and-done with him. And for a young kid, that’s special, to be able to hang in and there and battle for those turnovers,” said Cassidy.
The rookie promises to be productive and lots of fun to watch.
I liked his game a lot. He got off to a good start when he threw a hit on a Chicago player and it led to David Pastrnak’s early goal.
Cassidy summed up what he expects from Spooner. “I don’t know if physicality is the proper term. What I want to see is compete. We’ve talked about that. I don’t expect Ryan Spooner to lead our team in hits. But he has to win his share of pucks. How you do that, hard on your stick, sometimes it is body position, sometimes it is knocking a guy off the puck. It was good to see, and it led directly to – we come back up the ice, he makes a play, [Matt] Beleskey passes it and we score a goal,” he said.
“Then the third period, specifically, put him out for a D-zone faceoff and he won one, he won maybe both. Just some situations that he knows he has to be harder in, I think the rest of his game will take care of itself. But I thought he was good in that area of the game tonight.’’
Chicago’s rookie winger is a handful at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. He played with bite on Monday, firing a rocket under the bar for a goal on one of his game-high four shots and getting under the skin of more than one Bruin.
O’Gara broke into a smile when asked about his former Yale teammate. “He plays with so much intensity, it’s awesome. He had a nice goal, too. It’s fun to see (fellow Bulldog Kenny Agostino) at our camp and (Hayden) having some good success with Chicago. It’s awesome to see them come up through the ranks and succeed,’’ O’Gara said.