For one night, Boston looked mighty good with the man advantage — and they had the big guy to thank.
That was the story at TD Garden on Saturday as the Bruins beat the Red Wings 4-1 on the strength of a dynamic-looking power play, led by defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Chara was an big net-front presence as Boston went 2-for-4 on the man advantage. The 6-foot-9 rearguard provided a nice screen on Torey Krug’s game-opening PP goal, then notched one himself in the third period on a great skill play:
Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron also scored for Boston on the night, pushing the Bruins to a perfect 2-0-0 on the year.
Henrik Zetterberg scored the lone goal for the Wings, who are now 2-1-1.
The big story on the night, though, was the play of Chara on the PP. Boston’s been criticized heavily over the last few seasons for its poor production with the man advantage, and that narrative looked like it would carry into the 2013-14 season when the B’s went 0-for-3 on the power play in the season opener against Tampa.
Boston also managed seven shots on the power play all told, a pretty solid total. The goal now will be for the B’s to carry that production over to Thursday’s game against Colorado.
On Wednesday, Boston GM Peter Chiarelli said re-signing Dennis Seidenberg was a “pretty high” priority for his club.
He wasn’t kidding.
A day later, the Bruins signed Seidenberg to a four-year, $16 million extension with a no-trade clause, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The deal runs through the 2017-18 season and, barring a waiving of the NTC, will keep Seidenberg with the B’s until he’s 36 years old.
Seidenberg, who has been with the Bruins since 2010, will see his four-year, $13 million deal expire at season’s end. The German rearguard has been an important cog for Boston over the last few seasons, including the Stanley Cup-winning campaign of 2010-11 in which he tied a career-high with 32 points while averaging over 23 minutes a night.
Seidenberg was also a workhorse in last year’s playoffs, averaging 25:59 per game — second only to Zdeno Chara.
Monetarily speaking, the deal is a good one for Boston. The Bruins retain Seidenberg’s services with a nominal annual pay bump — $3.25 to $4 million per season — and prevent him going to market in what could potentially be a thin year for UFA defensemen.
Thursday night will be an evening of firsts at the TD Garden — specifically, the regular season Bruins debuts for Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson.
Iginla, 36, will start on a line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, taking Nathan Horton’s role on the popular “HuLK line” of a year ago.
“I want to make a good first impression,” he told WEEI.com. “It’s a great building to play in and a tough building to play in and we want to keep it that way.”
Eriksson, 28, has a slightly different perspective heading into tonight. Having spent his entire career in Dallas, he’s excited about playing in a hockey-mad city for the first time — a far cry from Iginla, who spent 17 years in a passionate Calgary market.
“I’ve seen in these weeks that I’ve been here, there are a lot of fans around here,” Eriksson said. “Everyone talks hockey in this town, and it’s nice to be in an environment like that.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Eriksson is slated to play alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the B’s second line.
The third and less ballyhooed debutant will be Reilly Smith, who came over from the Stars along with Eriksson in the Tyler Seguin trade.
He’s projected to be on the third unit with Jordan Caron and Chris Kelly, and is keen to show off some of the offensive flair that saw him score 58 goals over his final two seasons at the Miami University (Ohio).
The Boston Bruins have placed defenseman Kevan Miller on waivers for purpose of assignment to AHL Providence.
The move comes after Miller was included on the Bruins’ opening-day roster, and also after the 25-year-old had been drawing praise from head coach Claude Julien.
“I think he’s improved immensely over the years in Providence, and he’s become a very steady, dependable defenseman,” Julien, per CSN New England. “Everybody knows he’s not the flashy type, but he is very dependable. He’s big. He’s strong. He defends well, he moves the puck well and he’s got a good shot.
“So he’s got a lot of qualities, and he’s certainly a guy that had a great camp while earning a spot with us.”
But the Bruins have seven other d-men — Matt Bartkowski, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Dennis Seidenberg, and Adam McQuaid.
So we assume this is partly to do with numbers. Perhaps the club felt it was worth risking that another team claims Miller in order for him to keep playing in Providence, as opposed to sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch in Boston.
Tuesday proved to be captaincy day across the NHL.
With new sweater letters being assigned in Buffalo, Edmonton and (eventually) Tampa Bay, Boston got in on the action by announcing that David Krejci and Chris Kelly would fill the alternate captaincy void left by Andrew Ference — who’s now captaining the Oilers.
Krejci and Kelly will rotate wearing the “A” and join a Boston leadership group featuring Zdeno Chara and the club’s other alternate, Patrice Bergeron. Their appointments make plenty of sense — Krejci has spent his entire seven-year career in Boston, appearing in over 500 games, while Kelly has been a key role player since arriving from Ottawa in 2011.
Contractually speaking, both players will be in Boston until at least 2015, at which time Krejci is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency (Kelly’s up in 2016).
It’ll be interesting to see how the alternate captaincy will affect Krejci’s negotiations when it comes time to create a new deal — the B’s already have some big-ticket contracts on the books for 2015-16, including Tuukka Rask ($7 million), Chara ($6.9 million), Bergeron ($6.5 million), Milan Lucic ($6 million) and Brad Marchand ($4.5 million).
Tampa Bay to name new captain tonight
Buffalo names Vanek, Ott co-captains
A’s for everyone: Oilers name six alternate captains