BOSTON — Rather than relive what happened 101 days prior -- and regurgitate those 17 seconds that turned a date with Game 7 in Chicago into home for the summer without the Stanley Cup in tow -- it’s time to move forward.
The Boston Bruins certainly believe that to be true, beginning the 2013-14 season last night with some new faces, renewed goals and the same in-your-face, drive-the-net style of play that has gotten them to the finals two of the last three seasons. Step 1 was a positive one as they shut down the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1, before the usual 17,565 sellout at TD Garden.
“Last year was a good year. But not a great year,” said Chris Kelly, who scored the first goal of the season for Boston on, of all things, a penalty shot in the first period. “We’re back at square one and have a new group here.”
Well, 18 of the 22 players dressed for last night’s opener did wear the Black-and-Gold last season, so that statement it’s 100 percent accurate. But the newcomers that were brought in. particularly right wingers Jarome Iginla (via free agency) and Loui Eriksson (in a blockbuster trade with Dallas), have already added some new elements that the organization believes will keep them near the top of the NHL pack.
Both players quickly acclimated themselves nicely to both their teammates (Iginla on the top line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic; Eriksson riding RW on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand) and those in the stands. That was especially true of the battle-tested veteran Iginla, who quickly dropped the mitts after being run by Tampa Bay defenseman Radko Gudas in the second period.
“It is always nice,” admitted the 36-year-old Iginla, when asked if getting his first fight as a Bruin out of the way was a good thing. “With the summer off and (you) always feels a bit rusty at the start, it’s always nice going off emotion. Nothing was planned; it was just getting run over, and that’s part of (the game).