It's still September, and clearly, the feelings attached to the Bruins first two contests should be mitigated by the fact that both were exhibition games.
So, in theory, there shouldn’t have been too much emotion attached to either the 8-3 win over the Canadiens or to the 2-1 loss to the Islanders on Tuesday.
However, don't tell that to the players and coaches.
The B’s stated goal is to improve on last year, so each game, preseason or no, has taken on a greater importance and it was clear that the Bruins players and staff were unhappy with what was admittedly a less-than-solid effort.
“There was definitely a little rust out there,” said Marc Savard
, postgame, from the seat of a stationary bike. “Obviously, it wasn’t our best effort, but we’ll rebound, just like the Bruins always do.
“We just have to stay positive.”
Savard, who looked a little angry and seemed to have trouble taking his own advice, was front and center in the hallway in front of the B’s locker room when the press came looking for answers.
“That’s what happens when you haven’t played in a long time,” said the all-star center, who also hinted that he knew the real reason why New York held sway for much of the game.
“Give the Islanders credit, they played a good puck-pressure game.”
Looking forward, Savard softened and said that he thought Coach Julien would have solutions when the Black & Gold return to practice on Wednesday.
“I don’t expect that he’ll kill us,” said Savard. “It’ll just be a normal practice where we will work on some things that we need to work on.”Tuukka's Time
One very big positive that Savard (and pretty much everyone in the building) pointed to was the Bruins young phenom, goalie Tuukka Rask
“I thought Tuukka was incredible tonight,” said Savard. “It just proves that he is going to be a number one goalie in this league, someday. And we are glad to have him in our organization.”
“As a goalie you’d rather take more shots,” said Rask with a chuckle. “I like that.
“Once you get going and get five or ten shots in the first period, you can get yourself into the game and after that things kind of get rolling.”
Rask got rolling to the tune of 36 saves.
“Overall, I am pretty happy, but I have to see the tape,” said Rask. “Then I will talk to Coach Bob (Essensa).
“I felt better than ever (conditioning wise). I wasn’t tired at any point and my legs weren’t burning or anything like that, so I think I am in pretty good shape right now.”
Rask also gave credit to his defense.
“There were only a handful of shots that I didn’t see,” he said.
In his post game press conference, Coach Julien said, “Tuukka’s play was a bright spot.
“He kept us in the game (even though) we definitely got outplayed tonight.
“But it was nice to see him in action and have him show us the progression he’s made.”Ryder through the storm
Michael Ryder also spoke and although he was not as pointed in his critique, he also seemed to indicate that the Bruins have more to give, even at this early date.
“It was okay,” he said of the exhibition game. “I think with a few more games we’ll get used to it.
“They came out hard and we didn’t really respond to it.”
Asked if he felt any extra pressure because of his previous experience with Coach Julien, Ryder said, “No, not really.
"For me, it’s a clean start (after) last year and the thing is to get used to the way the Bruins play and their system.”
Boston returns to practice today in Cole Harbour.