BOSTON, MA - There was a hockey game to be played at TD Garden on Tuesday night for the first time since last April, as the Boston Bruins took the ice for a scrimmage against their AHL squad, the Providence Bruins, in front of 17,565.
And it was a wild one. The teams combined to score eight goals in the final period, turning a 2-2 game into a stunning 7-5 victory for Providence.
An AHL team beating an NHL team may be a big story for some, but for Boston head coach Claude Julien it was just a warm up; something he could look at and find things to improve on before Saturday’s opener against the New York Rangers.
“Yeah, we did,” said Julien, on if he got what he wanted out of the scrimmage. “We wanted to see where we were, where we stood, where certain players were with their game and everything else. And as I said this morning, we were going to be able to elaborate a little bit more after tonight’s game.
“The score to me wasn’t important, what was important was seeing things that we were doing well, things that we have to work on or, again, the condition of certain players.”
The game was tied at two heading into the final period before Providence scored three unanswered goals to take a 5-2 lead and send shockwaves throughout the Garden.
Max Sauve put Providence up 3-2 with his second goal of the game, just 2:08 into the period and just 45 seconds later, Jamie Tardif, who has been practicing with Boston during training camp, made it a two goal lead.
Boston came roaring back, however, with three unanswered goals of their own. Just 14 seconds after Florek’s goal, Krejci answered with a snipe over the left shoulder of Anton Khudobin from the slot.
Rich Peverley tied the score just over two minutes later when he picked up the puck behind the net and snuck it inside the left post.
The game-winner was scored at 17:25 when Lane MacDermid, another Providence player that has been with the big club during camp, tipped one past Rask.
The Baby B’s would add an empty-net goal from Kyle MacKinnon to cap the scoring.
“We played good,” said Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy. “ We don’t normally score that many goals. We struggle to score usually, so it was good that we found the back of the net. I was happy for the guys, they worked hard and they’re feeling good about themselves, so good for them.
Julien shot down the idea that his team took the game lightly.
“I don’t think anybody thought we were going to breeze through this,” said Julien. “I mentioned it this morning to our guys, you have a team that is playing extremely well in Providence right now.
“They’re young, they’ve got lots of energy. They had a slow start to the season but they’ve really picked up their game, even this weekend with us taking a lot of their good players away, they still won two out of three games.
“They’re a good team to start with, they’ve been together since October. We’re a team that’s just come together this week, quickly. To me that kind of leveled the playing field.”
The Baby B’s got on the board first 12:35 into the opening period after Brad Marchand was whistled for a delay of game.
Burlington, Mass. native Jay Pandolfo,who is with the organization on a tryout basis during training camp, was wide open in front of the net and one-timed one past Rask on a pass from Sauve.
Boston got going in the second period, outshooting Providence 15-8. They tied things up just under five minutes into the period when Dennis Seidenberg found Chris Bourque, who had a goal and two assists, with a pass as he entered the zone.
Bourque took a slap shot from the left face-off dot that squeaked through Khudobin’s five-hole.
Providence answered just over six minutes later, when Sauve banged home a rebound from just outside the crease, once again putting Providence up by a goal, 2-1.
Only 26 seconds after that, Marchand tied things up off a pass from Tyler Seguin. Seguin was in the left corner and found Marchand in the slot, where he rifled a shot top shelf, over the right shoulder of Khudobin. Patrice Bergeron was also credited with an assist on the goal.
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