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The Bruins Return to the Garden

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins -- Saturday, prior to the Bruins game with the Ottawa Senators, veteran Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward wrote in his blog, Beyond the Blueline, “We’ll know how productive this road stretch has been once we get home from Ottawa.”

After four games last season, the Boston Bruins were 2-2-0, so as improvement goes, 2-1-1 is slight. However, the Black & Gold come into their first home game at the TD Banknorth Garden confident about their team and eager to finish their first five game set with three wins and seven points.

Going into last night’s game with the Senators, however, the Bruins were aleady anxious for some home cooking.

“I’m tired of listening to other team’s chants and listening to everyone else’s grand opening and anniversary ceremonies,” wrote Ward. “I am so sick of sitting around on their bluelines listening to how great their organization is and I can't wait to see a lot of Black & Gold in the stands at The Garden.”

Ward cautioned, however, that Boston had to remain focused.

“It’s important going into Ottawa to remember that we have a game ahead of us against a team in our division and we really can’t get caught looking ahead to Monday,” he penned.

Thankfully, there was no lapse in the team's concentration and the Bruins controlled play for much of their 4-2 win over the Senators in Ottawa.Considering the team’s strong play against their Northeast Division rivals, and the fact that the Bruins have improved with each outing, hopes remain very high as Boston begins its home schedule.

“I thought tonight was our best all-around effort,” explained head coach Claude Julien to NESN’s Naoko Funayama, postgame.

“We wanted to finish over .500 (on the road swing),” he added. “This was a good way to (end) a four game stretch on the road.

“We were good defensively, but we still pressured them at the other end.

“Overall, I thought it was a really strong effort throughout the whole game and I am really pleased about our win, tonight,” said Julien.

Julien believes his goaltending has been an important part of the B’s early success and will be integral to any Bruins postseason berth.

“As I have often mentioned, I think both Timmy (Thomas) and Manny (Fernandez) had been pretty good in camp, but have gotten better as we move on here,” said the coach. “All I am trying to do is to give them both a chance to stay with it and give us some solid goaltending. Hopefully that will pay off.

“They are both quality goaltenders and we’re just trying to keep them both motivated and into the action.”

Fernandez, caught on camera wearing a big smile after the game, won his first game of the season and told NESN that he “battled hard and tried to stay focused for 60-minutes.”

The major criticism of the Bruins early this season has been their inability to remain focused through the entirety of regulation play.

“We played really well,” said Fernandez. “(The Senators) had played (Saturday) night, but…this is still a good team and we came in here to win.

“Leaving with the two points is a confidence booster.”

Speaking of a boost in confidence, Milan Lucic scored his first goal of the season Saturday night. He agreed with Fernandez about the Bruins 60-minute effort in Ottawa.

“It was a real good effort from start to finish from us,” said the sophomore left wing. “We had the lead tonight and we played with it for most of the game.

“That goal at the end, (Andrew) Ference and (Marc) Savard made some good plays in the defensive zone and (Michael) Ryder did a good job of taking the puck to the net.

“His rebound landed right on my stick and I had an open net to shoot at,” he said.

Lucic looked relieved.

“It’s always nice to get that first one out of the way, and hopefully they’ll start coming more and more,” said Milan. “I wasn’t complicating my game tonight, I just tried to keep things simple and I think that it worked out for me.”

Phil Kessel, scored the two goals were the biggest reason for the Bruins victory. Kessel has four goals in four games.

“I don’t know – I am getting lucky right now,” said Kessel to NESN when asked about the game. “I’ve gotten a couple of big breaks and I have been fortunate to bury some goals.

“This was a good win. Our first four games were on the road and to come out of that above .500 is a big thing.”

Lucic agreed.

“It’s really important,” said the big wing. “That’s a big thing for us (coming home) over .500 to move up in the standings. It was a divisional game, so that was another reason for it being a big game.

“It was a good feeling to come out on top.”

That said, Julien immediately shifted his team’s focus toward Monday’s contest.

“We have the Pittsburgh Penguins coming in to town,” he said to Funayama. “It should be an exciting game for us and a good start to our home stretch.”

Come to FAN FEST on Monday!
Kick off the season the right way, join us for Fan Fest prior to our Home Opener on Monday, October 20! Fan Fest will be held in the West Garden Lot from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Boston Bruins Alumni will be in attendance, as well as the Bruins Ice Girls and Blades! Get here early and enjoy live music, interactive games and giveaways, the first 1,000 fans will walk away with a limited edition Bruins T-shirt.
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