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BHN Talking Points

Talking Points: Haula, DeBrusk Lead Way To Boston Bruins Win

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Boston Bruins

Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals in their preseason opener at the Capital One Arena:

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk is hoping for a clean slate this season after really struggling last year, and he showed it with the way he played in the preseason opener. Granted it’s not exactly against the Grade-A competition he’ll face in the regular season, but still the speedy, skilled winger needs to really build things back up in the preseason. DeBrusk scored the B’s first goal when he attacked the net and popped in the rebound of a Connor Clifton net drive, and then DeBrusk scored the game-winner in the shootout with a nifty attempt. He finished with three shots on net, six shot attempts, a hit and two blocked shots along with a plus-2 rating while skating with Erik Haula and could really help the B’s if he can play with those kinds of skating legs most nights this season.

BLACK EYE: Dylan McIlrath decided he wasn’t going to be in exhibition mode in the third period when he attempted to deliver a heavy hit on Steven Fogarty, and instead haphazardly threw an elbow to the Bruins center’s chin when he attempted to sidestep the hit. Fogarty was knocked out of the game and McIlrath was hit with a five-minute major and a game misconduct for head-hunting on Boston’s depth center. Hard hits and hard hockey plays are McIlrath’s raison d’etre at the NHL level, of course, but he’s likely going to hear from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety now after taking things way too far in an exhibition game.

TURNING POINT: The Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals battled to a 2-2 tie through 60 minutes of hockey and a five-minute overtime. Conceivably, the Bruins might have won a 2-1 game had they kept Jeremy Swayman in for the balance of the game as they would do during the regular season, but instead things went to the extra session. It was all Bruins at that point as both Erik Haula and Jake DeBrusk scored in the shootout between Fabian Lysell getting denied on a five-hole bid as the middle shooter. The two shootout goals for the Bruins were enough for them to take away the exhibition game win and gets the Black and Gold off on the right foot as they build momentum for the regular season.

HONORABLE MENTION: Erik Haula gave a pretty clear indication of how he’s going to help the Bruins with his first appearance in the exhibition season. Haula scored Boston’s second goal of the game on a great shift as he won the offensive zone draw, and then moved right to the front of the net where he redirected a John Moore point blast for the score. Haula then scored as the first shooter out of the chute during the decisive shootout session and won 17-of-24 faceoffs while also killing penalties and playing a strong, solid 18 plus minutes as a potential third line center. It certainly looks like Haula is going to be an excellent fit for the Black and Gold if he can consistently bring what he did on Sunday afternoon in Washington.

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 – the number of saves for rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman in the first half of the game where he stopped 18-of-19 shots and looked every bit like he was picking up where he left off last season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Preseason around here for everybody, even the PR staff.” –A smiling and jovial Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy after his postgame zoom session began on mute as he attempted to answer his first question.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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