It may only be one preseason game, but if Jarome Iginla is looking to win over Boston Bruins fans, he took a big step forward Monday night.
Iginla, who signed with Boston as a free agent in the offseason, scored two goals on six shots to help the Bruins defeat the hated Montreal Canadiens 6-3 in their preseason opener. It didn’t take long for him to get involved, as his first goal came on the power play just eight minutes into the game. This was just one of the ways he helped reignite a power play unit that, for the past few years, has been among the league’s worst. Of Boston’s six goals, four came with the man advantage.
Despite spurning Boston to force a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins during last season’s trade deadline, none of Iginla’s current teammates are holding it against him. This was especially shown in the impressive chemistry shown with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, his current linemates.
There was more than a little curiosity on how these two players would adapt now that they were playing without Nathan Horton. Horton, who bolted for the Columbus Blue Jackets after receiving a lucrative contract offer, had been on Krejci and Lucic’s line for the past three seasons. Many wondered if Iginla, who will be 36 years old heading into this season, would be able to pick up the slack left behind in Horton’s absence.
Unfortunately, we can’t base the verdict on just one night. If we could, though, the response would be “Nathan who?”
That may be a bit harsh. Horton left behind plenty of memories during his time in Boston, most notably his series of game winning goals in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup Championship run. However, if Iginla’s debut was a sign of things to come, Boston fans won’t take long getting used to Horton’s absence.