BOSTON — All’s well that ends well. The Boston Bruins weren’t at their best in Monday’s home opener, but they did what they needed to bank a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Four quick hits:
The first line provided the firepower as Patrice Bergeron scored a hat trick and David Pastrnak scored twice, but the fourth line played a part in the win.
After being a healthy scratch in Buffalo, Chris Wagner played with Noel Acciari on the wings between Sean Kuraly. Acciari landed a crunching hit along the boards less than a minute in. He and Wagner recorded three hits each.
“They looked very good,’’ coach Bruce Cassidy said. “See, that’s the thing. When Noel goes to the wing I find he’s freed up to be more physical, be on top of pucks. When you’re a centerman, you have to be a little more responsible, so that’s the difference. I like him as a centerman. He knows what he’s doing in his own end, makes good reads, good stick, willing to block shots, but when he’s on the wing, he’s freed up a little more.’’
WAGNER ON THE BOARD
As he often does, Edmonton scout Scott Harlow watched the game from the ninth floor.
“That was a Wags goal right there,’’ Harlow said after the second period, in which Wagner scored Boston’s third goal. Harlow would know since he coached Wagner with the Eastern Junior Hockey League’s South Shore Kings.
Wagner, a meat-and-potatoes player, fought for ice in the slot, stood his ground and got a stick on Charlie McAvoy’s shot from the point as he was knocked down.
“I thought we had one coming after our first period when we had a lot of O-zone time. Sometimes you get the bounces and sometimes you don’t, but that was a pretty good bounce,’’ Wagner said.
It was his first goal as a Bruin in his first home game. What a great moment for the Walpole native and his family.
NOT ENOUGH MEN
Too Many Men was, of course, an infamous moment in the history of the Boston Bruins.
Not Enough Men? That was an odd twist in Monday’s game. I can’t recall another one like it in many years of watching the Bruins.
The Senators scored their second goal after a faceoff in the Boston end where the Bruins had only two forwards and two defensemen on the ice. David Pastrnak was the missing forward, jumping over the boards in time to see Ryan Dzingel score his second goal.
Cassidy said he’d called for the Bergeron line to be on the ice and then went to talk to Anders Bjork about his last shift.
“It’s always on the coach to get the right people out there, but by the same token (Bergeron’s) line was out there and I just assumed (Pastrnak) was on the ice lined up against the boards. So, we’ll share responsibility on that one, and we’re just fortunate it didn’t come back to bite us in the ass,’’ said Cassidy.
For Pastnrak’s part, he accepted the blame. “I heard Kuraly line. Definitely my bad. I misheard and, to be honest, I had no idea. All of a sudden I jumped on the ice and they scored. But maybe I lost a little focus and didn’t hear our line so it was my bad.’’
Coming off a rocky night in the season opener, Tuukka Rask wasn’t perfect on Monday, but he didn’t have to be.
“Well, I finished the game. I guess that qualifies as a lot better. We played good,’’ said Rask, who stopped 28 shots.
“He made some big saves. He came out to absorb some traffic around the net, was more engaged in the game, willing to play the puck, so I thought he was good. A good bounce-back game for him,’’ said Cassidy.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“That (Bergeron) hat trick is great, but that backhand saucer pass that lands on Pasta’s stick on the backdoor, I don’t’ get it. We might have to have a talk tonight and he can explain it to me. Maybe I’ll implement it next game’’ – DAVID BACKES