BOSTON (CBS) — Boston’s two newcomers hit the TD Garden ice for the first time in black and gold on Tuesday night, and they did not disappoint.
Both Rick Nash (who debuted for the B’s on Sunday) and Tommy Wingels both lit the lamp in Boston’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, showing some instant chemistry with their new team.
After nearly potting his first goal with his new team in Buffalo on Sunday, Nash tallied his first goal in a B’s uniform midway through the first period on Tuesday night. The former first-overall pick took a feed from David Krejci and rocketed it by Canes netminder Scott Darling to erase a 1-0 deficit. It was the 800th career point for the 15-year veteran.
“Whenever you start with a new team or a fresh season, you always want to get that first one out of the way,” said Nash. “It always seems like the hardest one to get.”
Nash not only tallied a goal, but you can credit him for a save on Tuesday night as well. With the game still scoreless, Tuukka Rask initially stopped Jaccob Slavin’s bid, but Justin Williams sent the rebound through the crease and behind Rask. The puck seemed destined to find the back of the net to give the Canes an early 1-0 lead.
That’s when the 6-foot-4 forward turned into a defenseman. Somehow, Nash was able to reach across the line and scoop the puck out with his stick.
“It was a bit strange to be skating backwards over the blue line and playing like a defenseman,” he recalled after the game. “It’s definitely hard, but I just saw the puck kind of trickling in and I wasn’t sure right away if it did cross the line or not. But I got pretty lucky that it didn’t.”
While Nash brings a lengthy NHL resume to Boston, Wingels was a relative unknown when Don Sweeney acquired him at the trade deadline buzzer on Monday afternoon. But with a game like Tuesday’s (not to mention a name like Wingels), the 29-year-old will have no problem becoming a fan favorite in Boston.
Thrust into the lineup with Patrice Bergeron sidelined with a broken foot, Wingels fed Riley Nash late in the first period for the forward’s 11th goal of the season, cutting Carolina’s lead to 3-2. Wingels had a pretty finish of his own in the second period, beating Darling to notch things up at 3-3. He finished with a goal, assist and two shots in his 15:06 of ice time in his Bruins debut.
“If you get traded this is the kind of place you want to go to. A hungry team, a team that is capable of winning it all and a team with the skill and work ethic of the Bruins here,” Wingels said after his Boston debut. “So, really happy to be here and just going to try to contribute any way I can.”
Tuesday night’s win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Bruins, who are now just a point back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division. They have a tough matchup on Thursday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town, but given the early chemistry with their deadline reinforcements that was on display on Tuesday night, the Bruins have to be feeling real good about themselves with just over a month left until the playoffs.