Boston Bruins Training Camp is presented by AT&T.
BOSTON - For much of the offseason, an anticipation and eagerness has built around the bevy of young talent in the Bruins pipeline. With open spots, particularly up front, up for grabs, B's general manager Don Sweeney was keen on relaying the opportunity that lay on the table for Boston's prospects.
And on Tuesday night, it was clear that the kids are certainly all right.
Three of Boston's four goals during a 4-2 preseason victory over Detroit at TD Garden were scored by young players attempting to secure a permanent spot on the Bruins varsity. And in total, six players under the age of 24 registered points in the win.
"It's awesome. You go out there and from the top guys and the veterans down to those guys, everybody holds their own," said 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy, who registered three shots and a plus-1 rating in over 23 minutes of ice time. "I could name them all - there's a bunch of them - but they all bring something special to the table. I think they all played really good.
"When you're out there with those guys you know that you can give them the puck and they're going to make plays."
Video: Watch Highlights from BOS vs. DET
Among those making plays against the Red Wings were Austin Czarnik, Danton Heinen, and Ryan Fitzgerald, who was playing in his first-ever NHL preseason contest. The North Reading, Mass., native fired a wrister form the slot off a slick feed from defenseman Jakub Zboril - who will play his first pro season this year - early in the second period to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
"It was definitely nice to get that first one," said Fitzgerald, whose father, Tom, played for the Bruins in 2005-06. "It was a result from a lot of great plays from great players. I was fortunate to bury [it].
"To wear that Spoked-B is definitely special. Being my first preseason game, I was fortunate to score a goal. It felt great."
Heinen, who played eight games with Boston last season and is a top candidate to fill one of the B's wing spots, doubled the Bruins lead just over four minutes after Fitzgerald's tally.
After a strong forecheck by Frank Vatrano and Czarnik set the tone, Heinen busted hard to the left post and buried a cross-crease feed from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson past Detroit goalie Jared Coreau.
"He can move around the lineup, play both wings. Cerebral player that, just the battle level for him last year was an education," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Heinen. "I think he's taken that to heart and you see it out there. He's winning more of his shares. He's not winning them all, but nobody does. He's winning his share, and that's what we've said."
Video: Fitzgerald discusses 4-2 win over Detroit
One player who has been lost in the shuffle a bit during camp is Czarnik. The 24-year-old split time between Boston and Providence last season, but is using this preseason as an audition for a permanent role with the B's.
His performance against Detroit will certainly help his cause. Czarnik extended Boston's lead to 3-0 with a second-period penalty shot, before delivering a nifty helper on Teddy Purcell's tally late in the third period.
"He was very good," said Cassidy. "I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking because we've talked about a lot of young guys. He's still a young guy, wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team.
"I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He's always going to make plays in space, that's his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well."
Video: Czarnik discusses 4-2 win over Detroit
The Bruins hope Tuesday night was a sign of things to come. And everybody can be pleased with that.
"They're just pushing us as the veterans to be better," said David Krejci, who assisted on Fitzgerald's goal. "And that's what you want from the young guys."
Purcell, who is in camp on a professional tryout agreement, was one of the veterans to get on the scoresheet Tuesday night. Purcell played on a line with Czarnik and Heinen, and ripped one past Petr Mrazek with just over two minutes remaining after taking a feed from Czarnik on odd-man rush.
"I think he knew late in the game this was going to be his opportunity, and he didn't whiff, he got it on net with some velocity," said Cassidy. "It's what he does. He's been around. The question with Teddy, it's less about Teddy and more about the young guys we have competing for the spots.
"He understands that, but it doesn't mean he doesn't want to put his best foot forward and win one of those jobs….is he a fit for the Boston Bruins? That's one we're better suited answering in 10 days."
McAvoy made his NHL debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring, making Tuesday night's exhibition contest a bit less intense. Nevertheless, the blueliner did not alter his approach.
"These games are great. You want to get out there," said McAvoy. "Everybody misses hockey. It's good to get out there. It's a close group, a couple practices were really good this week. You approach every game the same, even preseason, playoffs. You want to go out there and play to the best of your ability."
Video: McAvoy discusses 4-2 win over Detroit
Krug, JFK Banged Up
Torey Krug took a puck to the face midway through the second period and did not return. He skated off under his own power.
"I don't have one yet," Cassidy said of an update. "He clearly didn't finish the game, took a shot up in the facial area. Probably have an update tonight or tomorrow."
Forsbacka Karlsson also left the game after tumbling into end boards during the second period.
"He went into the boards late in the second," said Cassidy. "He's day-to-day, upper-body. I think he wanted to - he did come back and try - I don't think it's serious but I can't speculate.
"We'll get another update [Wednesday]. It didn't look good, but I don't think it's as bad as it looked."
Video: Cassidy on when roster decisions will be made
Kuraly Drops 'Em
Sean Kuraly picked up right where he left off during last spring's postseason. Centering Fitzgerald and Jordan Szwarz, the playoff hero landed three shots on goal and posted a plus-1 rating in 12:27 of ice time. He also dropped the gloves with Luke Glendening late in the second period.