BOSTON – Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers in their preseason opener at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
GOLD STAR: AJ Greer came into training camp armed with a two-year, one-way Boston Bruins contract for the first time in his pro career, and he played like he wants to win a job in his Garden debut. Greer scored a pair of goals including an OT winner and was all over the place as his five shots on net, six shot attempts and seven hits would attest to in 13:06 of ice time. Greer’s performance is notable because that’s exactly the kind of energy player that the B’s have been missing over the last few years and he seemed to bring life into the crowd and the action on the ice even though it’s just one of the early preseason games prior to the real thing. It’s going to be a competitive fourth line picture with players like Nick Foligno, Chris Wagner, Tomas Nosek, Jack Studnicka and Oskar Steen all in the mix, but Greer seemed to be making a statement that he’s going to have one of the jobs when camp breaks a few weeks from now. ‘
BLACK EYE: It’s a bit unfair to put things on young players in their first NHL training camp, but Georgii Merkulov wasn’t able to pop in any significant way given a chance to flash his skills against some NHL competition Merkulov finished a minus-1 for the Bruins and couldn’t bury a loose puck right in front of the net after Charlie Coyle made a nice 2-on-1 dish to the post that created a rebound chance. As it turned out that was his only shot on net in 13:07 of ice time where he was fairly quiet offensively and will very likely be back in P-Bruins camp sooner rather than later. There’s no same in it obviously as he’s a young kid that should still be in college at this point, but Merkulov looks like he’s going to need more development time before he’s ready for the Black and Gold.
TURNING POINT: The turning point in Boston winning the game was their ability to turn a negative into a positive in the third period Mike Reilly took a retaliatory slashing penalty that wasn’t a great decision and it put them shorthanded late in the third trailing in a 2-1 hockey game. Instead of giving up or giving in, the Bruins instead busted up the New York power play and Oskar Steen finished with a shorthanded strike off a slick pass in transition from Joona Koppanen. The quick spark of special teams played put Steen on the board in a nice bounce back from a so-so game in Philly and set up the Boston Bruins for the overtime fireworks thanks to AJ Greer.
Short & Sweet. pic.twitter.com/fSJZv0iMNH
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) September 28, 2022
HONORABLE MENTION: Jack Studnicka didn’t have a really notable game last weekend and that sparked a conversation between the young center and Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. So responding in the way that he did on Tuesday night showed something to the coach as Studnicka got the primary helpers on both of Greer’s goals with some big-time passing plays and finished with three shots on net and a hit in 15:12 of solid ice time centering Greer and Marc McLaughlin. It’s way too early to say anything definitively about the fourth line situation, but Studnicka officially put himself in the mix with his encouraging performance against the Rangers creating plays, getting gritty on the forecheck and showing some of the ways he could be an energy line center if that’s what the Boston Bruins need.
BY THE NUMBERS:2 – the number of goals for AJ Greer in Tuesday night’s win and also the number of career NHL goals that the 25-year-old has in 47 career NHL games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Growing up in Montreal, I saw a lot of the Bruins. I think I’ve always seen myself kind of playing the hockey that the Boston Bruins play. So to be here is a dream come true and I’m fortunate every day to be in the position I’m in and make the most of my opportunities.” –AJ Greer on the chance to be a member of the Boston Bruins this season.