Boston Bruins

  • The Bruins finally put an end to their six-game grind of a preseason slate Saturday night, but did so in losing fashion, as the team found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-3 final at TD Garden.

    The loss came with what was an almost fully representative NHL lineup from the Bruins, too, headlined by a new-look top line with Jake DeBrusk and Craig Smith between Patrice Bergeron.

    But while the changes came at the top, it was actually Boston’s fourth line with Tomas Nosek centering Nick Foligno and Jakub Lauko that caught Jim Montgomery’s eye by the night’s end.

    “I thought the Nosek line was our best line all game,” Montgomery said after the loss.

    Deployed for just over 10 minutes of five-on-five time on ice, the Foligno-Nosek-Lauko combination out-attempted the Devils 11-to-8, generated eight scoring chances and surrendered just three at the other end, and outshot the Devils by a 6-to-4 margin.

    And the line had something to show their efforts, too, with a Nick Foligno tip-in goal in the third period that helped spark a nearly successful comeback by the Bruins.

  • Sep 30, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 30, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • “By far his best game,” Montgomery said of Foligno. “I thought he handled the puck real clean. Made a lot of good plays; board plays, bumps underneath, wall plays to the middle. And he won a lot of battles below the tops of the circle where when you look at his career, that’s where his money has been made.”

    It’s been an interesting camp for Foligno, to say the least. His preseason debut in Philadelphia brought about much of the same when it came to his frustrating 2021-22 season with the Bruins. The effort was there, but the finish seemed to be just a step behind. But the Bruins have continued to back Foligno — they even promoted him up to Patrice Bergeron’s left for a couple of skates — and have made it clear that they view him as an ‘identity’ piece when it comes to their bottom six.

    In a healthy season, which was not the case for the ex-Blue Jackets captain in his first year with the Bruins, the Bruins would like to see the 10 goals from the 34-year-old Foligno (and that’s assuming it’s all even strength).

  • In addition to the Foligno tally, the Bruins put themselves on the board in the middle frame with a David Pastrnak power-play goal, and made things interesting when Patrice Bergeron beat Vitek Vanecek to make it a one-goal game with 2:46 remaining in the third period of play.

  • In net, Linus Ullmark stopped 22-of-26 in a losing effort. Montgomery summed up Ullmark’s night as “OK,” and it’s worth noting that the Bruins did little to help out their netminder in this one.

    Lowlights on that front included a neutral zone turnover that almost immediately led to a defensive zone lapse that gave Jack Hughes an open look (he won’t miss those), and with a Mike Reilly breakout pass that went nowhere thanks to a broken stick and ended up in the back of the net just moments later.

  • The Bruins will be off on Sunday, but will return to the ice Monday for a practice and what will be the team’s first ‘media day’ since 2019. Monday will also be the day that the Bruins have to finalize their full roster to begin the 2022-23 season ahead of Wednesday’s season-opening head-to-head with the Capitals.