BOSTON - David Backes left the ice following the Bruins' final preseason game last weekend with a different type of feeling.
He had already gone through several Bruins "firsts." Back in July, the veteran forward made his Boston debut at the MSPCA, where he donned the Spoked-B for the very first time. There were also his first practice and his first preseason game.
But his first contest at TD Garden provided something a bit more special. It was Backes' first taste of the Bruins faithful on his new home ice.
The energy and excitement the fans delivered for an exhibition game left Backes itching to get back on the Garden ice when things begin for real.
He won't have to wait much longer, as the Black & Gold open their season Thursday night in Columbus. The home opener is a week later, Oct. 20, against New Jersey.
"It felt like my first game all over again, with a new home crowd that brings that energy and you see how passionate they are about the game, here for warm-ups and cheering the team on and get that adrenaline flowing early," said Backes, who produced six assists in three preseason games with his new team.
"It seems like one heck of a place to play. I've heard about it and now I've gotten to experience it in the preseason.
"I can only imagine it's going to go up a couple notches once we're playing here for keeps."
David Pastrnak knows exactly what that feeling is like. The 20-year-old is entering his third season with the Bruins and can't wait to get things started.
"The preseason is over and now it's [time] for our first game," said Pastrnak. "It's really exciting. You work the whole summer for the season. I'm happy it's back."
Bruins head coach Claude Julien is in his 10th season at the helm and would like nothing more than to return to the postseason after a two-year absence.
"It's great that you're able to be in the same place for this long and it's fun when you're in an organization that you really enjoy being with and respect," said Julien.
"There's no doubt I'm looking forward to a great season here and bringing back, I guess, the glory and the pride we've had for many years here."