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).