BOSTON - Tim Schaller's Bruins career did not get off to a blazing start. A collision during the forward's first practice, earlier in training camp, kept him sidelined, making it difficult to get familiar with his new teammates and organization.
But Schaller resumed skating late last week and felt good enough to suit up for his first game in the Black & Gold on Tuesday against Montreal.
It was a solid debut for the New Hampshire native, who skated in the middle of Jake DeBrusk and former Providence College teammate Noel Acciari on the Bruins fourth line, which brought some energy and grit against the B's biggest rival.
"Our line had a lot of time down their end, not too much in our end, which is always nice," said Schaller, 25, who hails from Merrimack, N.H. "I think we worked well together…I felt pretty good.
"For me, it doesn't matter who we're playing - obviously Montreal it spikes up a little bit - but every night I look to finish my hits and be around the net, be an energy guy. I think I did that last night."
Schaller played 35 games for the Buffalo Sabres over the last two seasons, tallying two goals and three assists. In 37 games for Rochester (Buffalo's AHL affiliate) last season, the 6-foot-2, 219-pound center tallied 12 goals and 14 assists.
He was looking for a fresh start, so returning to New England seemed like a perfect fit.
Video: Tim Schaller plays first preseason game
"It's been awesome," said Schaller, who was signed to a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 on July 1. "It's where I wanted to be this year and I'm taking the opportunity and trying to run with it. Everything's really familiar, which is nice.
"I wasn't too sure how I was going to react with the distractions and knowing a lot of people in the area. But I think it's helping me. It's going to make me work harder knowing that I have people in the stands every night."
Bruins coach Claude Julien had not seen much of Schaller prior to this week, but was intrigued by his play against the Canadiens.
"I thought he was good," said Julien. "I hadn't seen him play. I saw him a little bit with Buffalo last year, but he's a big body, seemed to be pretty solid. And again, first game, I'm sure he was a little bit nervous with this new team. But I didn't mind his game at all.
"I thought that line for a good portion of the game was probably a pretty decent line. Noel had a really good game. Jake, who is on the left wing - probably not the type of players he normally plays with - but I thought he adapted well. I didn't mind that line."
Schaller would like nothing more than to parlay that performance into a roster spot.
"Hopefully playing the rest of the preseason games here and get better every game, make it hard on management to send me to Providence," Schaller said of his goals for the remainder of the preseason.
"Hopefully I can be here for the whole season."
Krejci, Krug Feeling Good
David Krejci and Torey Krug, both returning from offseason surgery, played in their first games of the preseason Tuesday night against Montreal and both reported they were feeling just fine.
"Everything felt good, I had no issues," said Krug. "I felt good. This whole time, I've been preparing and making sure I'm ready. Shoulder feels good, no complaints at all."
Krejci acknowledged he felt a little slow towards the second half of the game, but was happy to reach one of the most important checkpoints of his recovery.
Video: Torey Krug and David Krejci make preseason debuts
"It's definitely good that I got through it," said Krejci. "I felt pretty good, especially the first half of the game. The second half wasn't as good, but physically I felt pretty good the whole game, so I'm happy about that.
"Now I don't have to worry about my injuries going to the next game, just play my game and see what I can do on the ice."
Miller Remains Day to Day
Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller was struck with a puck in an undisclosed location during the first period of Tuesday night's tilt with the Canadiens and did not return. He was not on the ice for practice on Wednesday morning, but Julien did not believe the injury to be serious.
"Just being evaluated, so right now there's no reason to think it's bad, but again, who knows nowadays?" said Julien. "We're just making sure he's evaluated and probably by tomorrow we'll have a clear indication on that. We're hoping it's minor.
"We're just being extremely cautious. I didn't want to take a chance. I told the trainer, 'If there's any type of risk I don't want him coming back out.'"
Forward Brian Ferlin also missed the session with a lower-body injury.
World Cup participants Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Christian Ehrhoff, and David Backes were given the day off for rest.
Hard Decisions A Good Thing for Julien
At this point in training camp, competition for the final few roster spots is at its fiercest. And Claude Julien loves to see it, even if it makes for some tough decisions.
"It doesn't make it difficult, if anything it's great to see," said Julien. "If the decisions are hard, as I've always said, then that means there's something good happening. I want those hard decisions. I don't want situations where this is what I have and I have no choice.
"If anything, it's great that these players are stepping up and make us make some hard decisions. Those hard decisions are usually good situations to be in."
Jake DeBrusk - Riley Nash - Seth Griffith
Matt Beleskey - Austin Czarnik - Danton Heinen
Sean Kuraly - Dominic Moore - Noel Acciari
Zac Rinaldo /Jimmy Hayes - Tim Schaller - Tyler Randell
Ryan Spooner - David Krejci - David Pastrnak
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
John-Michael Liles - Brandon Carlo
Joe Morrow - Colin Miller