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A Team Effort for Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Denver, CO -- Amidst the packing and running for the bus and showering  -- not exactly in that order -- the Bruins celebrated their first win, in the first game of the 2008-09 season over the Colorado Avalanche, 5-4, in front of 18,007 fans at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Goals from forwards Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Marc Savard (who added an assist as well), Michael Ryder and David Krejci (who also had an assist), helpers from Patrice Bergeron (2 assists), Andrew Ference, Chuck Kobasew  (2 assists), Zdeno Chara, P.J. Axelsson and Milan Lucic, alongside 35 saves from Tim Thomas, made the win a team victory in the truest sense.

“It just shows how much we have in this dressing room,” said Bergeron, who returned to the lineup for the first time in the regular season since his career threatening injury last October. “These guys are playing great right now and giving us a chance to win.

“We just have to keep playing the way we are (right now) and keep playing like a team.”

In his post game press scrum, Bruins head coach Claude Julien sounded particularly pleased because the conditions were not ideal.

“We seemed a little tentative,” said Julien. “We didn’t seem to be sharp and we just played back on our heels in that first period (but) we seemed to get a little better as the game went on.

“There’s no doubt that there was a lot of nervousness and jitters out there…that created a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone, which is uncharacteristic.

“But I think we’ll get better from here on out and it was nice to still be able to get a win – that’s the important thing and hopefully by game 82 we’ll forget how we won this one,” he said.

No, the win was not exactly textbook.

The B’s only mustered 20 shots and had only hit the net 12 times through two periods. Boston was called for five penalties (to Colorado’s two) and four of those were of the hooking, holding, tripping, and delay of game variety.

And assuming the official scorer was correct, the Black & Gold were also black and blue, as the home team out hit the visitors 34 to 17.

Finally, the Bruins also lost the lead three times before Krejci scored the game winner at 18:19 of the third.

However, even though it wasn’t a pretty victory, the B’s felt as if they worked hard to earn the win and overcame some adversity along the way.

Savard pointed to the late start as an obstacle.

“I think the 8 o’clock start (10 o’clock Boston time) was tough on us,” said the veteran forward. “Actually 8:20 because of the ceremonies and stuff…that’s a late game for us.

“It took us a while to get our legs and then when we did, I thought we played a lot better.”

Savard said that the younger players on the club really helped that turnaround happen.

“It’s a credit to how hard they are working out there,” said the All-Star center. “They are trying to do the little things right.

“Claude is putting them in (tough) situations…and they’re getting a chance to play. They’ve rewarded the team with some big goals,” he said.

“I think we deserved to win,” said Krejci. “We saw all twenty guys go hard today.

“We all deserved it.”

Krejci was also very pleased for his goalie.

“He just showed that he (picked up) from where he was last year,” said Krejci. “He was keeping us alive.”

That’s funny, because the goalie thought his teammates were keeping him alive.

“The (defense) had some good kills,” said Thomas. “And I had some pretty good ‘run’ support.

“When we score five goals, and keep battling back like we did, it makes me keep trying harder and harder.

“After the fourth goal, which was a bad rebound on my part, I was really happy when we got the fifth goal (and) I wanted to close it out,” he said.

Beyond Krejci’s game-winner, Wheeler’s goal, the first of his NHL career scored in his first NHL game, was an exciting moment.

“It was awesome and an honor just to be out there with these guys,” said the rookie. “They had such a great season last year and for me to be out there with them was a privilege.

“It was just a dream come true night and you couldn’t have written it any better.”
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