fb-pixel Skip to main content
Bruins Notebook

With a packed house in TD Garden for Bruins-Islanders, the buzz was back in the city

The city was bustling and the full house of fans was rocking TD Garden even before puck drop at the Bruins-Islanders playoff game Saturday.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

It was drizzly and unseasonably cool on Saturday -- or, for the 17,000-plus fans who packed TD Garden for Game 1, perfect hockey weather.

Two hours before puck drop, the bars and restaurants on Causeway and Canal Streets were stuffed. Dozens of parties waited in line. Fans streamed across the bridge from Charlestown, hopped off the T, and climbed out of the parking garages.

The doors opened at 6:30, the first fans reached their seats. Some marked the occasion with selfies. Many let out elated hollers when they reached their seats. T. J. Connelly, the Garden D.J., played “Freedom ’90” by George Michael.

Advertisement



The first full “Let’s Go Bruins” chant, at 7:38 p.m., rocked the house before warmups began. This was several minutes after a video reminding fans of the two-beer-per-person policy was soundly booed.

The buzz was back in the city prior to the Bruins 5-2 Game 1 win over the Islanders. Across town, at the same time the TD Garden doors opened, more than 29,000 at Fenway Park erupted after Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino got a bases-loaded strikeout to preserve a 2-0 seventh-inning lead. Bruins fans echoed back before puck drop, screaming when the Bruins hit the ice for warmup, when the house lights went down, when the starting lineups were announced.

When honorary fan banner captain A.J. Quetta was shown on the video board -- with the announcement that he is back home -- it was as loud as it has been in 15 months.

“We’re excited,” Brad Marchand said Saturday morning. “Been a little envious watching the other games and seeing how many people have been in the arenas. Really been looking forward to that. I can’t wait to see that and how loud it’s going to be, how excited fans are going to be. Definitely going to have a huge adrenaline rush off of that.”

Advertisement



Brad Marchand praises Leo Komarov

Marchand had an MVP-caliber season for the Bruins, finishing third in league scoring (29-40--69) and dragging the Bruins into the fight on nights they were sluggish. A changed man -- mosty -- Marchand did have his Old Brad moments in the Capitals series, adding 10 minutes in penalties to his three goals. Three of his minors were for post-whistle activity.

Few players would love to see Marchand take penalties more than Leo Komarov, the Estonian irritant currently riding on Mathew Barzal’s line. During Komarov’s days with the Maple Leafs, he stuck to Marchand like glue, leading to a well-publicized nuzzling incident in the 2018 first round.

Before Game 1 of this series, Marchand was fully complimentary.

“He’s a great player for their group,” he said. “He knows his role and plays it to a T. He’s physical, he can score, he can make some plays. He’s made some big plays for that group. He’s out there when they need a big kill or a big moment. Just a competitive guy.”

Another grinder on the Island, Casey Cizikas, had his compass pointed toward the Bruins end.

“Keep getting pucks in deep, hitting them, being on him,” he said. “Oh my god, this guy’s on me again.”

Annoying in a different sense: J-G Pageau, on a line with fellow Bruin-destroyer Kyle Palmieri. Only three players -- Victor Hedman, Jonathan Huberdeau and Nikita Kucherov -- had more assists in the first round than the ex-Senator (six).

Advertisement



“Pageau had a good series, but he always does, he’s a good player and always plays well,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, whose team takes a 1-0 lead into Game 2 on Monday night. “He’s one of their most effective players against us because they use him in so many different situations. We have to keep an eye on that as well.”

Schedule set for remainder of series

Dates, and some start times, for the rest of the series have been set.

Game 2 is 7:30 p.m. Monday (NBCSN). The Bruins visit Nassau Coliseum for Game 3 (7:30 p.m. Thursday, NBCSN) and another nationally televised tilt in Game 4 (7:15 p.m. Saturday, NBC).

Times and TV channels for Game 5 (Monday, June 7) in Boston, Game 6 on Long Island (Wednesday, June 9) and Game 7 in Boston (Friday, June 11) have not been determined.

Bruce Cassidy concerned about Jeremy Lauzon

Jeremy Lauzon, who took a shot off his right hand in Game 1 against the Capitals, returned to the lineup as Connor Clifton’s partner. Cassidy was expecting Lauzon to play his physical, shot-blocking style and hoping he didn’t overextend himself with the puck on his stick. “Execute the first pass, make the right decision, which is always a challenge for young defensemen,” Cassidy said prior to Game 1. “That’s always a challenge for him when he’s been out, is getting up to speed with his puck play” … A brief concern in the second: Matt Grzelcyk was hurting after Leo Komarov stapled him to the end boards, skating off with an apparent lower-body issue. He visited the dressing room at 7:51 of the second, but returned shortly after … Jake DeBrusk was promoted to the No. 2 line in the third period after Craig Smith (lower body) was ruled out. It was immediately unclear what happened to the right wing. Cassidy said it was a “red flag” that he couldn’t continue, but added he would be evaluated Sunday morning ... Looking ahead: the NHL is reseeding the four winners of the second-round divisional series. The Stanley Cup Semifinal matchups will be determined by regular-season points. One of the uncomplicated scenarios for the third round involves Toronto winning the North. If that happens, the Bruins-Islanders winner would be the lowest of four remaining seeds. They would face the Colorado-Vegas winner. Those teams finished 1-2 in the overall standings … Oliver Wahlstrom, injured in Game 5 against Pittsburgh, did not play for the Islanders. The rookie winger from Yarmouth, Maine and Boston College has been a capable depth scorer with a heavy shot … Last series against Pittsburgh, Islanders rookie Ilya Sorokin became the 10th goalie in league history to win his first four playoff starts. Sorokin, 25, is hardly a knock-kneed newbie under the bright lights. He played 69 playoff games in the KHL, going 50-17 with a .940 save percentage and setting a league record for playoff shutouts (16). He went to three Gagarin Cup finals with CSKA Moscow, winning the championship in 2019 (he was playoff MVP). He has an Olympic Gold medal as a backup, appearing in one game for the Olympic Athletes from Russia in 2018.

Advertisement




Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.