Takeaways from B's first exhibition win

BOSTON -- It may have seemed like an uninteresting game, but the Bruins’ 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals Wednesday night at TD Garden served as another barometer as Boston’s management and coaching staff continue to evaluate and make decisions for the upcoming season.

The Bruins are close to making their first cuts of the season, which should be announced either Thursday or Friday.

On Wednesday, Zdeno Chara scored a power-play goal and Simon Gagne added an empty-netter. Bruins No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask played the first two periods and posted 14 saves. Bruins newcomer Jeremy Smith played the third period and finished with 12 saves, including a tremendous side-to-side glove save on the Captials’ Andre Burakovsky.

Between Boston’s two goalies on Wednesday, along with the performances of Malcolm Subban and Niklas Svedberg Tuesday in Montreal, Bruins coach Claude Julien is pleased with the team’s netminders.

“Goaltending’s been good,” Julien said. “Even [Tuesday] both goaltenders played well, and these two [Rask and Smith] played well. It’s encouraging for us, as an organization, to know that you have some depth at that position.”

* Gagne, a 14-year veteran who was invited to training camp, slowly is showing signs of improving. After not playing a game for a season and a half, the Bruins tested Gagne’s stamina and had him play back-to-back games. Understandably, he’s not up to speed, but he has impressed with his quick progression. As much as the Bruins enjoy having that type of veteran player -- a la Mark Recchi, Brian Rolston and Jarome Iginla -- Gagne will have to do a lot more in the next few preseason games to force Boston to keep him around. The Bruins also have plenty of youth to pick from, so that will play a factor in Gagne’s future in Boston. On Wednesday, he played nearly 19 minutes and saw action on special teams.

* In his third pro season, center Ryan Spooner has shown glimpses of being able to play at the NHL level during several call-ups. On Tuesday in Montreal, he played well offensively and scored a goal, but his two-way game suffered, and Julien criticized Spooner. Along with Gagne, Spooner played again on Wednesday and made improvements. He still made some mistakes, which the Bruins are expecting, but he needs to show more commitment in the two-way game. If not, there’s no way he will earn a roster spot on this team. All he needs to do is watch the likes of David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell to learn how important being a two-way center is for the Bruins.

* Defenseman Adam McQuaid hadn’t played a game in eight months, but he has shown steady progress during training camp. He missed the majority of last season with quad and ankle injuries and finally had surgery on his right ankle last May. He was ready at the start of camp and has not been limited at all. He showed that progression with a strong physical game on Wednesday. He did not hesitate to throw his body around and was involved in plenty of battles along the boards. Afterward, he said it felt great to be out there and had no ill effects from his nearly 20 minutes of ice time.

* Brad Marchand is playing like it’s the middle of the season. During practices, the Black and Gold scrimmage and again on Wednesday, the second-line winger has played with energy, which was something that was missing at this point last season. He’s admitted he is more motivated this season, which players will always say during camp, but Marchand is actually proving it. He and Bergeron already are clicking and making plays. If Marchand can sustain this effort all season, he should increase his point totals (25 goals and 28 assists) from last season.

* Even though defenseman and power-play quarterback Torey Krug remains unsigned, Julien decided to keep Chara in front of the net during the power play against the Capitals. Chara scored a power-play goal in typical fashion, screening the goalie, redirecting a shot from the point and driving the puck home. Boston’s captain registered 10 power-play goals last season from the front of the net, while Krug manned the point. What started off as an experiment has turned into a strength for the Bruins, and no matter what happens with Krug’s contract situation, Julien should keep Chara in front on the PP.