The Boston Bruins opened their Stanley Cup title defense with a banner-raising ceremony on Thursday night that brought out stars from the present and the past.
But it was one of the latter — sporting Flyers colors for the first time in a regular season contest — that shone brightest.
Jaromir Jagr made his regular season debut after a three-year stint in Russia and notched his 1,600th career NHL point on an assist to help the Flyers spoil the celebration with a 2-1 victory in Beantown.
Brad Marchand — one of the hero’s from Boston’s Cup run — kept the crowd ignited with an early power-play goal, but the Flyers answered with two scores just 47 seconds apart. Jakub Voracek’s five-hole goal on Tim Thomas with 2.4 seconds remaining in the first period proved to be the game winner.
The result was enough to get Jagr, the NHL’s active scoring leader, fired up about his new team, which underwent a significant offseason makeover, bringing in eight new players.
“We played the Stanley Cup champions. It’s not easy. They’re probably the best team in the NHL and we’ve got totally a new team. A lot of young guys. A lot of rookies. You’ve got to give us time.”
Playing before Bruins greats Bobby Orr and Mark Recchi, Boston couldn’t solve Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 22 saves in his first start for Philly.
It’s possible the Bruins were experiencing a little-known ailment called “ring finger fatigue” from lugging around their ridiculous 300-diamond, 14 kt. white gold Cup rings.