Boston ended up falling 2-0 to Florida, with Malcolm Subban stopping 19 of 21 shots.
The group wasn't too thrilled with the outcome and starting the tournament off with a loss, but two more games still await. The Bruins' rookies play Tampa Bay on Sunday and Nashville on Tuesday.
Boston had most of the chances throughout the game, with 30 total shots to Florida's 21. Subban only faced three shots in the first period.
With both teams shaking the rust off (most prospects haven't seen much game action all summer), the opening frame was highlighted by David Pastrnak stripping the puck and jetting off through the neutral zone for a one-on-one chance with less than a minute to go in the period. He pulled the puck between the legs of defenseman Jonathan Racine, before he was stopped by the left pad of goalie Sam Brittain. It brought out an audible reaction from the scouts and media watching.
The first Panthers' goal of the game came during four-on-four play early in the second period. Just 50 seconds into the frame, forward Steven Hodges whipped a shot (the Panthers' fourth of the game) from the left circle that beat Subban.
The second score came off a lucky bounce for former Bruins' prospect Cody Payne. Florida tried to bank the puck around the boards on the power play, but it hit the back of the net instead. Subban was anticipating the puck being picked up to his left, leaving the backdoor wide open to his right.
With 8:34 left in the third period, the Bruins had an opportunity to pull within one when Pastrnak had a penalty shot awarded to him. It was the third penalty he drew in the game by cutting towards the net. After making his moves side to side, the forward had goalie Jacob DeSerres beat, but hit the post.
Following 60 minutes of play, with the final score in the books, both teams engaged in a shootout. Seth Griffith scored for the Bruins. Pastrnak tried another nifty move and was denied by DeSerres.
This tournament isn't so much about the final score, though, as it is about these prospects showcasing themselves. The Bruins' management and coaching staff know these players well and have followed them through their development, so this is not the only avenue to show off their abilities, but more often than not, a strong rookie camp can translate into an invite to main camp.
With Head Coach Claude Julien, General Manager Peter Chiarelli and Assistant General Managers Don Sweeney and Scott Bradley in attendance, along with members of the Bruins' scouting staff, it's not a bad atmosphere to make an impact.
Following the game, Sweeney said he wasn't too keen on the team's lack of finish, but liked the chances that were generated.
"It was scrambly - there were some very good individual efforts and some plays made. Malcolm made some really good saves, had one that I'm sure he'd want back, but overall, can't be disappointed," Sweeney said. "It's the first go round, and some guys are just knocking the rust off and getting used to each other. But I thought the effort overall was pretty good."
As the tournament progresses, the product on the ice is sure to get a boost.
"You'll probably see a little more continuity," said Sweeney. "These guys haven't played a lot of hockey together and that's the benefit of having some of the guys from Providence and the first-year pros coming in in leadership situations on the ice to sort of calm things down, and you can tell that."
P-Bruins Chris Casto and Alex Fallstrom both wore the "A" for the game, while Matt Lindblad (the only player on the Bruins' roster to have made his NHL debut) wore the "C."
"There's a lot of anxiety coming into this situation, especially for kids who are coming in for the first time," said Sweeney. "They want to make a good impression, and rightfully so. There's a short window for them to do that, and we tried to outline that to them because some of the guys are auditioning to even get into main camp, let alone earn a contract and make the impression for everybody - Claude and Peter sitting up there - and these kids know that."
"So you don't try to put extra pressure in that regard on them, but it's something they have to work through by themselves in order to come out the other side and be better for it, if they want to continue in the pro game."
Notes & Observations
-Pastrnak played center, with Camara and Griffith on his wings. He'll be switching around from center to the wing during camp, but playing in the middle helps showcase his drive to be a strong two-way player. He hunts down players on the backcheck. Sweeney said there's a "risk-reward" element to his game; watching him try to make moves around defenders reminds me of the risk-reward style Brad Marchand plays -- when the move works, the defender has nothing to do but watch as he blows past him.
-Sweeney noted that Lindblad had a strong game, along with center Ben Sexton, and blueliners Chris Casto and Linus Arnesson. Lindblad is clearly the leader of this team, and embraces that role. Sexton is heading into his first full year pro. Casto and Arnesson make up the team's top defensive pairing.
-This tilt was Arnesson's first time wearing the Spoked-B in game action. He got more and more comfortable as the game went on. It's notable how quickly the two-way defenseman has progressed since being the Bruins' first selection in the 2013 draft (60th overall).
-Subban is only 20 years old, but with a year of pro experience, he's matured into a leader who is consistently calm between the pipes. This weekend isn't necessarily for him to prove his worth, but to tune up for main camp, where he'll push Niklas Svedberg and newcomer Jeremy Smith between the pipes.
- "I mean, I'm never satisfied with my play," Pastrnak remarked following the game, with a nicely chipped tooth after taking a stick up high. "But I'm trying to take the positive stuff from the game and always can be better. Always, I can play better, so I hope it's going to be better tomorrow."
- "Obviously it's tough but the management isn't watching too much on the technical part of the game and the structure," Subban said, on the challenges of the team meshing together right away for the tournament. "You know, just looking for battles and who is going to battle and show what they're going to bring to the table, whether that's physicality or skill, or playmaking ability, whatever it is - just try and bring that to the table as much as you can throughout the tournament."
Game 1 Lineup vs. Florida
Anthony Camara - David Pastrnak - Seth Griffith
Matt Lindblad - Ben Sexton - Brian Ferlin
Andrew Ammon - Cory Kane - Alex Fallstrom
Kevin Sullivan - Spencer Asuchak - Mitchell Dempsey
Linus Arnesson - Chris Casto
Mike Young - Frankie Simonelli
Lee Moffie - Bryce Aneloski
Starter: Malcolm Subban // Backup: Adam Morrison
Scratches: Dawson Leedahl (F), Mickael Beauregard (D)For a PDF version of the 2014 Bruins Rookie Camp roster, click here.