BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The Boston Bruins still have to wait a few more days before they host Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues. But they broke up their long layoff with a spirited scrimmage in front of a packed TD Garden Thursday evening.
Tickets were $20 and sold out the 17,565-seat arena, with the proceeds going to the Boston Bruins Foundation. Fans chanted “We Want the Cup!” and “Let’s Go Bruins!” The intrasquad scrimmage featured two 25-minute periods.
Bruins leading scorer Brad Marchand returned without missing a shift after appearing to hurt his left hand. He skated off flexing his hand near the end of the first period. He appeared to be in discomfort on the bench, but was back for his next shift.
Marchand bumped into Connor Clifton in front of the net “and jammed his … I don’t know what he jammed,” coach Bruce Cassidy said.
“Injury risk was our biggest concern tonight. It will be Saturday when we practice at the regular time, and Sunday,” Cassidy said. “He’s fine.”
Cassidy left it up to the players to decide how much work they needed.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask played just one half. Chara, who missed the clincher of the East finals for undisclosed reasons, played the entire game. David Krejci showed up at the arena with an illness and was sent home, but he should be fine for Monday’s game, Cassidy said.
The Bruins haven’t played a real game since last Thursday, when they completed their sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final. Their 10-day layoff between Game 4 of that series and Game 1 matches the longest break for a team in the Cup Final.
Fans were excited to see the Bruins even if it was just a scrimmage.
“This is awesome. I wanted him (grandson) to come see. He starts from early morning, ‘play hockey, want to play hockey,’” said fan Toni Walsh.
Many fans took advantage of the low ticket prices to take their kids.
“Growing up we watched the Bruins. My dad used to have us watch it on the couch as a kid. And I wanted him to experience it and he has never experienced the TD Garden before,” said Kristen Candito. “How awesome is this, a random Thursday night. You can bring them in and get right out and it’s only an hour long.”
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is set for Monday night at TD Garden.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)