Led by goals from Matt Poitras, Jake DeBrusk and Johnny Beecher, and some dynamic goaltending by prospect Brandon Bussi (29 saves), the Bruins opened their preseason schedule Sunday night with a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers at TD Garden.
“A really good start for several players tonight, now they have to keep building on it,” noted coach Jim Montgomery, who signaled out Poitras, Beecher and Bussi among the kids who impressed him.
Poitras opened the scoring in the first period, and the towering Bussi sealed the Bruins net from start to finish, repeatedly turning back solid Ranger scoring bids.
DeBrusk and Beecher connected just over five minutes apart in the second period to boost the lead to 3-0.
DeBrusk, the highest-profile veteran in the Boston lineup, connected at 3:04 with a sweeping wrist shot from the right circle after collecting a short pass from newcomer James van Riemsdyk.
Beecher buried the dagger at 8:07, only 11 seconds after Bussi stoned a Jimmy Vesey stuff attempt from the top of the crease. Vesey, sprung from the blue line off a long stretch pass, went hard to the net and Bussi blocked the charge perfectly.
Beecher finished the play off with a short forehand shovel from the low slot, set up by a Jakub Zboril feed.
“As camp goes on, it gets harder,” added Montgomery. “The people that rise to the top are the ones that are going to make it.”
The Bruins lost the services of winger Patrick Brown early in the second period. It appeared the ex-BC Eagle blocked a shot with his upper body. They also lost defenseman Zboril in the third period.
“Brown’s precautionary and the same thing with [Zboril], said Montgomery when asked for updates on the wounded. “(Zboril) took a high hit behind the net and we just didn’t want to take any chances.”
The 6-foot-4 Bussi, a UFA signing out of Western Michigan, made his save of the night 6:03 into the third period when Jonny Brodzinski fired a toward a wide open left side of the net. But Bussi tracked the cross-slot pass perfectly and speared Brodzinski’s sure goal with a wide-open right glove.
“A wild experience overall,” said Bussi, reflecting on the crowd’s reaction over his big save. “I don’t think I’ve ever played in front of a crowd that excited and with that much energy, and it’s only preseason. It’s a testament to how great our fans are.”
Striking on power play
The first Bruins goal of the preseason was registered by prospect Poitras, who squeezed off a wrister for a power-play goal at 7:20 of the first period.
Poitras, 19, is a right shot center/winger who was chosen 54th overall in the 2022 draft. Alert and quick afoot, Poitras also impressed during the recent Prospects Challenge in Buffalo. He was OHL Guelph’s top-point producer last season with 95 points.
“Obviously, the hits along the wall hurt a little bit more,” said Poitras, remarking on the difference between junior hockey and the pros. “It drains your energy a little bit more. That’s the main thing I noticed. But I felt good out there.”
Poitras was part of a PP1 unit that saw Montgomery also roll out van Riemsdyk, DeBrusk and Morgan Geekie, with Poitras up front and Reilly Walsh at the point.
Van Riemskyk spent much of his time parked on the goal line, to the left of Ranger netminder Jonathan Quick. DeBrusk worked the right half-wall and Geekie filled the bumper spot that Patrice Bergeron perfected over the back half of his career.
Walsh dished a feed from the slot that Poitras collected some 5 feet above the dot in the left-wing circle and then fired through a screen. He scored 16 goals last season for Guelph.
New voice on the mic
Jack Edwards, the Bruins voice on NESN for nearly 20 years, was not on the mic at TD Garden for Sunday’s exhibition opener.
Northeastern alum Alex Faust, who handled TV play-by-play the last six seasons for the Los Angeles Kings, handled the chores for NESN, and is slated to spell Edwards for a handful of the Black-and-Gold’s games throughout 2023-24.
Edwards’ longtine linemate, Andy Brickley, worked alongside Faust in his analyst’s role.
According to Edwards, his absence was planned, part of an overall plan for NESN to have someone warming in the pen should he need relief during the 82–game regular season.
“Alex is a good guy and will do a great job, and it’s a good backup plan,” Edwards noted in a text exchange with a Globe reporter. “I understand NESN’s desire for preparedness, but after 18 years of doing 100 percent of regular season and playoff assignments alongside Brick, I would rather not be a healthy scratch.”
Faust, who grew up in Brooklyn, is in the process of packing up in SoCal and moving to Manhattan, a borough to the left of his boyhood digs. The Rangers have plans to have him help out, too, on their radio broadcasts this season.
Heading to Buffalo next
The Bruins will not be on the ice Monday (scheduled day off) and will tune up next on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena before zipping west to face the Sabres that night at KeyBank Center in Buffalo … Opening faceoff at the Garden was delayed some 45 minutes to 5:45 p.m. According to a Bruins media spokesperson, air traffic control at Logan delayed the Rangers flight from taking off due to weather conditions in and around East Boston … Next up at the Garden: John Tortorella and the rebuilding Philadelphia Flyers, here on Friday evening (7:05). The Flyers have logged three consecutive postseason DNQs for the first time in over 30 years. They have won but one playoff round since 2012 … Event parking (be it Bruins, Celtics, concerts, family shows, etc.) has been increased to $60 for the 2023-24 entertainment season … With new captain Brad Marchand not in the lineup, three forwards wore the alternate captains’ A’s: DeBrusk, Trent Fredric and newbie Reimsdyk … The Bruins wore their new Centennial sweaters, featuring a multitude of horizontal stripes on their standard black home threads … Ex-AHL Providence coach Peter Laviolette, a familiar face behind the opposition’s bench the last couple of decades, made his Garden debut as the Rangers coach. “Lavvy” was hired this summer by GM Chris Drury to succeed Gerard Gallant as the Blueshirts’ bench boss … Zboril was the lone member of the last year’s strong defenseman corps who logged any action Sunday.
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at email@example.com.