The outcome - a 3-2 loss to the Habs - wasn't the ideal way to start game action.
But preseason offers an opportunity for veterans and young players to make mistakes and work out the kinks. For the spread of players with a chance at making Boston's opening night roster, though, that margin is slim.
Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser, both players pushing for spots, used the game to help show their summer improvements, while veteran David Krejci utilized it as a tune-up on the way to the regular season.
Spooner opened the scoring just 1:17 into the game, when he found himself with space down the right wing. He drove hard to the net and beat Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski off his backhand to put Boston up 1-0.
"I had some chances last year like that and I just pulled up, so I tried to take the puck to the net," Spooner said postgame.
Spooner had a lengthy 20-game stay with the Bruins last December and January, but didn't net a single goal. He worked on his shot all summer.
"Definitely trying to score, that's one thing I've been trying to do," he said. "I had a few mistakes out there tonight I need to improve on, so hopefully the next game I can fix those up a little bit."
"In Spoons' case, it was nice to see him score that goal," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. "But if you watch the game, he's still a liability defensively - their guy gets a quality shot from the slot there, so he's got to keep working on that part of his game."
"Because it's okay and it's exciting to see a guy be great offensively, and we love his game offensively, but at the same time, you can score one goal but if you're going to give up two, you're not helping your team, so we need the commitment from that part of his game to see that he's going to work hard at it, but it's a good start for him."
"I thought the goal he scored was one that we've asked him to do, take pucks to the net and he used his speed and took the puck to the net, so that's a step in the right direction for him."
Later in the first period, Spooner drew a holding penalty on Rene Bourque.
Fraser cashed in on the power play to make it 2-0 with 10:48 left in the first, whipping a shot into the left corner past Tokarski. David Krejci teed him up perfectly from the bottom of the right circle.
"He's got a gift, you know. He's a perfect shooter, he can shoot the puck really well, so we can see it in practices and he's done it in the AHL for so many years, so he made a great shot," said Krejci.
"Fraser competed hard and nice to see him play that way," said Julien. "That's basically our identity and we need to be a little harder up front as a team, so those are the kinds of things you like to see from young players."
Montreal pulled reduced the deficit to one with just 9.7 left in the opening frame. Jiri Sekac found a way past Niklas Svedberg's left shoulder with a knuckle-puck that Krejci got a stick on as it was fired.
"You know, there's going to be mistakes. You're just trying to go out there and eliminate as many mistakes as you can," said Krejci, of jumping back into game action.
"It's nice to get the first one under the belt. Personally, I thought it was nice to get a hit, it was nice to make a mistake - that's not something you want to do, but that's how you learn, so those things happen and I'm glad it happened the first game so now I can just be better and better."
With Boston leading 2-1 in the second period, Loui Eriksson took a tripping penalty. With just a second left on the Habs' power play, Christian Thomas batted the puck in behind Svedberg after a pile-up in front of the net and miscommunications between prospects Chris Casto and Joe Morrow.
Svedberg threw the puck emphatically out of the net, frustrated with not being able to handle the rebound. But he still had a strong night, stopping 16 of 18 shots, including a point-blank on a Rene Bourque tip-in chance off a 2-on-1.
"I felt alright, but we lost the game, so I can't really be pleased," said Svedberg.
Still, it was a chance to sharpen his game.
"Of course. it's been a while since you've played a game - we had that scrimmage but this was more a real game," he said. "So I tried to get the timing back and it's good to get back to game action."
Malcolm Subban played the third period, stopping eight of nine shots. He put up some sharp saves as well, tracking the puck well and thwarting rebound attempts.
Drayson Bowman found a way past him, though, putting past a cross-crease pass from Thomas to give Montreal the 3-2 win with just 48 seconds left in the game.
"Both goalies played well," said Julien. "It's unfortunate it's a real bad bounce there at the end, it's a mistake off the draw, but a bad bounce off Casto's stick and right to their player and I guess Morrow didn't read that really well and I think took the same guy that Piesy had - so young players making mistakes early in the preseason and that's why we have opportunities to work with them and work on that part of our game."
Less than a week into training camp and with six preseason games still on tap, there's plenty of time for that, and to get back up to speed.
"It's gonna come - you know, it was the first game, we still have more to go before the regular season," said Krejci. "So we still have a couple weeks of games and practices, so we'll work on some stuff and we'll be ready for Game 1."
Lineup vs. Montreal 9/23
Matt Fraser - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson
Ethan Werek* - Carl Soderberg - Brian Ferlin
Daniel Paille - Ryan Spooner - Simon Gagne
Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Tyler Randell
Dennis Seidenberg - Johnny Boychuk
David Warsofsky - Kevan Miller
Joe Morrow - Chris Casto
Goalies: Niklas Svedberg, Malcolm Subban
Scratch: Chris Breen (D)
*Anthony Camara was expected to travel but was not on the ice for warmups in Montreal. Ethan Werek took his place alongside Soderberg and Ferlin.