MONTREAL – It may not have been a regular-season game, but Tyler Seguin experienced something Wednesday night he's dreamed his whole life about.
He just didn't take enough time to enjoy it.
Seguin got an assist in his NHL pre-season debut for the Boston Bruins in a 4-2 win against the rival Montreal Canadiens in front of a sellout Bell Centre crowd of 21,273.
"Skating out there and hearing 21,000 people screaming for the Canadiens when they come on (the ice) gives you shivers," Seguin said of his first taste of the rabid hockey environment in Montreal. "But it's something I'll get used to, hopefully."
Seguin admitted that at one point in the first period, it dawned on him that he was realizing a childhood dream, pre-season or not, but he didn't want to savor the moment too much.
"There was one shift where I kind of looked up and saw the other centerman, and I saw it was the Montreal Canadiens and realized that this is it," said the 18-year-old second overall draft pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. "But this is a business and I want to be a professional in this sport and not be so star struck anymore. You just want to go out there and show your stuff."
Seguin logged 15:05 of ice time on the night, got two shots on goal, and beat veteran faceoff man Jeff Halpern in the first period to help set-up Boston's second goal of the night.
He spent the first period at centre between Blake Wheeler and veteran Mark Recchi, who played his first NHL game in 1988, four years before Seguin was born. The Brampton, Ont., native played the final two periods at left wing on a line with Recchi and Bergeron at center.
Patrice Bergeron scored twice for the Bruins on impressive dekes in front of embattled Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who had a difficult start to his pre-season with four goals allowed on nine shots.
Tomas Plekanec did the heavy lifting to set up Maxim Lapierre's shorthanded goal and scored one himself on the power play off a brilliant feed from playoff hero Michael Cammalleri for the Canadiens.
Seguin also spent some time at left wing on a line with Recchi and Bergeron at center.
"It's understandable in a first game, in a building like this against the Montreal Canadiens, it's normal that he's going to be nervous," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "But he still showed us enough. He can skate in this League, there are no issues there. He can make plays and he's going to get more and more comfortable as we move on here. He's a smart individual so he'll figure it out, and he'll figure it out pretty quick."
Tuukka Rask was tremendous in the Bruins net, particularly in the first period when he turned aside all 11 Canadiens shots to allow his team to enter the first intermission with a 3-0 lead. He played all 60 minutes and made 36 saves to get the Bruins a victory despite being outshot 38-16.
Rask, however, was not totally satisfied with his evening's work.
"Well," he said, "it wasn't a shutout."
If a pre-season game in mid-September can be big, this certainly was one for Price. And unfortunately for him it did not go as well as he'd hoped.
Facing a capacity crowd at Bell Centre for the first time since playoff hero Jaroslav Halak was traded to St. Louis and he was anointed the No. 1 netminder in Montreal, Price allowed a goal on the second shot he faced only 93 seconds into the game, drawing a smattering of boos that grew in intensity as the game went on.
"It's about time that people realize they're not helping him," defenseman Hal Gill said of the boos. "They're not helping the team."
He allowed three goals on his first five shots, but there was little he could do on two of them. And his fourth and final goal allowed early in the second came off a brilliant deke by Bergeron on a clean breakaway.
"That's our goaltender," Cammalleri said. "It didn't go ideal for him, but nobody in this room was booing him. It you want to identify with this group, then get behind him. Because we are."
Curtis Sanford entered the game at the 10-minute mark of the second and stopped all seven shots he faced, drawing a big cheer on his first save of the game.
The Bruins weren't the only team with a highly-touted prospect making his debut, as Canadiens 2009 first-round pick Louis Leblanc was playing in his hometown for the first time. After a tentative start to the game, Leblanc appeared to gain confidence with every shift and created some offensive chances in the third.
Horton, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli's big off-season acquisition, didn't wait long to get his first with his new club, snapping a shot past Price from the right circle at 1:33 of the first.
Boychuck made it 2-0 Bruins at 13:32 with a rocket slap shot from just inside the blue line that beat Price high to the glove side.
Bergeron made it 3-0 when he took a Daniel Paille feed off a Canadiens turnover deep in their own end to go in alone on Price and beat him with a nifty backhand move at 15:20 of the first.
Though his own performance showed Bergeron looks ready to take on a bigger role offensively than last year, he was very impressed with what may be his winger when the regular season gets under way.
"Obviously, having that first game at the Bell Centre, it's pretty tough to get his feet wet (here)," Bergeron said. "But he did a great job and I thought he handled himself real well."
Boston quickly made it 4-0 early in the second with a shorthanded goal, Bergeron picking Jaroslav Spacek's pocket at the Canadiens' blue line and making a series of moves in front of Price before slipping in a forehand at 2:17.
The Canadiens got on the board at 12:04 of the second on a great play on the penalty kill by Plekanec, chipping the puck past Matt Hunwick at the Montreal blue line then out-waiting a sliding Dennis Seidenberg to feed Lapierre for an easy tap-in goal at 12:04 of the second.
Plekanec then took a backhand saucer pass from Cammalleri and flipped one over Rask at 19:20 of the second to cut Montreal's deficit to 4-2.