BOSTON -- Rookie games typically receive little fanfare in the run-up to the NHL's preseason, but after the buzz and the crowd created by the Bruins and Islanders on Wednesday night, teams might want to re-think their marketing.
With a couple of top-five picks from the 2010 NHL Draft on display -- Boston's Tyler Seguin and New York's Nino Niederreiter -- an impressive crowd of 11,571 came out to see two teams of fresh faces at TD Garden, but it was Jordan Caron who stole the show with a hat trick, as the Bruins came out on top, 5-2.
"It was kind of a dream come true," Caron said. "Everybody wishes to see those hats coming on the ice. It was a nice feeling."
The Quebec native induced a flurry of falling chapeaux by scoring into an empty net with 38 seconds remaining in the third, capping what had been a wildly entertaining affair.
Neither side managed to score in what was at times a tentative opening period, but after Caron broke the ice with a tip-in 61 seconds into the second period, the game opened up both physically and offensively with four goals being scored before the second intermission.
The two headliners made their presences known in both aspects of the game.
Seguin tallied two assists, including one on Caron's second goal, and jostled with the Isles' Travis Hamonic, while Niederreiter scored New York's first goal of the night off Hamonic's deflection at 11:51 of the second and later dropped the gloves in the third period for a joust with Boston's Tyler Randell.
"I saw that [David] Ullstrom was in a bit of trouble so I was trying to help him out," Niederreiter said afterward. "It was my first fight so I had no idea what to do but try my best."
Niederreiter's fight with Randell was one of several on a night that saw a delay in the third period to clean blood off of the ice, the result of a stick to the face of Boston's Joe Colborne -- he left the game with what was believed to be a broken nose.
The rules established before the start of the game declared that any player who fought twice would be ejected. Unsurprisingly, however, the brass from both teams was satisfied with how their players reacted to the heightened intensity.
"It is a contact sport," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "It is not something that we would discourage. We want our players to play physical and they responded and stuck up for each other. It is part of being a team."
Of course, the physicality didn't blunt the offense. In addition to Caron's trifecta, each team had several rushes and chances throughout the night, with Lane MacDermid's eventual game-winner, a bank-in off the right post in the second period, perhaps the most impressive goal on the night. Max Sauve also potted a score for Boston, while Robin Figren added a goal for New York in the third period.
"In these types of games it's going to be really chippy. There's going to be lots of fights," Seguin said. "[Hamonic] was all over me all night, and I don't expect any less for tomorrow. Eventually, you've got to stand up for yourself."
While Seguin was clearly the main attraction for the home crowd -- he received a noticeably larger ovation than any other player during pre-game introductions -- he seemed perfectly satisfied allowing Caron to get much of the glory.
"I feel like assists are better than goals," Seguin said. "I had two helpers tonight so I was fine with that."
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli noted that a number of younger players, Seguin in particular, seemed nervous in the early going, but after being sent to the penalty box late in the first period on an interference minor, Seguin appeared to find his groove and acquitted himself well.