It was a rough night for Bruins goaltending prospect Malcolm Subban as the Red Wings posted an 8-2 win over the Bruins Thursday night at TD Garden. Subban allowed four goals through two periods, though only one was truly his fault. In the third period, the wheels came off.
“No matter what I did, the pucks just found its way in,” Subban said. “Some bad bounces, but I didn’t do my part tonight.”
His teammates and coach came to the defense of the 19-year-old, blaming a leaky defense that often wasn’t where it was supposed to be.
“We can’t hesitate against that team,” defenseman Matt Bartkowski said. “With the skill they have and the passers they have, everything, you just can’t give them the extra half-second or so because they’re going to capitalize.
“We hung him out to dry on countless occasions — two-on-ones, odd-man rushes. They got shots, we didn’t pick up anybody in front. That’s another thing we’ve got to bear down and work on. You can’t fault him for anything tonight. It doesn’t matter if it was his first game or his 50th, we left him out to dry.”
Coach Claude Julien didn’t consider pulling Subban until after the seventh goal allowed, but at that point there was 6:32 left in the game and he wasn’t prepared to put a cold goalie into the game, risking an injury.
“We wanted him to fight through it,” Julien said. “This is a good learning thing for a goaltender, to see that this is what he’s going to be facing. He’s got to fight through those situations.
“It was one of those nights that, unfortunately, I think our guys in front of him certainly left him out to dry a little bit. I thought we made some real bad mistakes.”
Will the loss affect his confidence?
“I’m not looking at it that way,” Subban said. “I’m looking at it a positive way. It’s probably a good thing, now I can be more focused obviously and start the game better. Going down, 2-0, pretty early like that didn’t help.”
Asked whether he was fully focused, Subban said, “No, I guess when you let in eight goals, focus probably isn’t there all the way. I guess I thought I was focused, but obviously not. I’ve got to be better the next opportunity I get.”
The last time Gregory Campbell was in a game, he was painfully making his way off the ice with a broken leg. But that changed on Thursday night against the Red Wings, as Campbell made his return 3½ months after his June 5 injury.
Campbell got an ovation from the fans as soon as he stepped on the ice for his first shift. He said he was appreciative, saying, “I like to play hard for the fans and for the city and for the organization.”
“I felt pretty good,” Campbell said. “My body felt good. I had no expectations. I just wanted to get the first period over with, feel the pace of the game. I’m very grateful to be back on the ice and to be playing. It was a long couple months, so for me it was an exciting time. Would have like to be on the winning side of things.”
Campbell said the biggest adjustment was dealing with the pace of the game after having that much time off. But there were other things missing from his game.
“To be honest with you, I wasn’t in too many battle situations, and I guess that’s indicative of my game tonight,” Campbell said. “I could have battled a little bit harder, but as far as the way I felt, I was comfortable out there and I guess happy with the way I felt.”
Zdeno Chara made his preseason debut against the Red Wings. The team practiced the power play with Chara in front of the net on Thursday, as it had earlier in training camp. “Experiment is probably not a bad word,” Julien said. “He is good at retrieving pucks. Anything that’s close to the net, around the net, he gets them. It’s something that he’s done before. We’ve seen him there many times on the six on five in the past, and he’s done a good job so we’ll see how that goes.” Julien added he didn’t think Chara was in particular danger of getting injured in that position. “I think there’s a lot more positives than there are negatives in that situation,” he said. . . . Brad Marchand said he’s looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role on a team that is already stocked with leaders. I’ve been here for a few years, and I think I started to understand how they expect guys to act on and off the ice and what they expect from me. I definitely want to show that I can be a leader and I can act the way that they expect and do things they want me to do.”
Patrice Bergeron is the only Bruin regular not to see game action. Bergeron could play Saturday in Detroit. “It’s a possibility,” Bergeron said. “It’s not 100 percent, but it’s a strong possibility. If not, it’s going to be Monday. It’s getting a lot closer.” Bergeron said he hasn’t been feeling as much pain as he had been. It’s still there, he said, but it has improved. He didn’t feel much during practice on Thursday, after feeling it “a lot” in earlier practices, especially when reaching out. “Either my body’s getting used to or it keeps healing,” he said . . . Right wing Nick Johnson scored against the Red Wings, his third goal in two preseason games. “He’s got some experience and it shows,” Julien said. “We’re always looking for depth players. We’re always looking for guys, again, there are some spots open. Right now he’s created a good battle for some of those open spots right now.” . . . Julien’s takeaway from the loss was that “You got a pretty good idea of who can play against teams like that, and then guys that aren’t quite ready yet.” . . . Jarome Iginla scored again, his third of the preseason . . . The Bruins’ special teams struggled, allowing two power-play goals and going scoreless on the power play . . . Red Wings’ Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen were out for Thursday’s game. They are dealing with lower-body injuries.Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.