It is very early in the season, obviously. The Boston Bruins have only played two games, which means there are 80 more to go. But, there is still much to think about between these two seemingly opposite Bruins teams displayed thus far.
Even with a handful of relatively new faces, both on the ice and behind the bench, the Bruins have been inconsistent to start the season. After a strong showing in the home opener, there was a clear lack of preparation and focus after a long weekend in game two. The Bruins have a lot of potential in a youthful line up this season. But, maintaining consistency and unlocking the full potential of these young players is key.
Continued help and support from the veterans, and finding an effective way of dealing with the inevitable injuries, some of which already occurring, will continue to be a need throughout the season as well. But, getting off on the right foot the first week or two of the season should also be a priority for Boston, especially with so many young players.
Bruins Look to Bounce Back Out West After Inconsistent Start
Opening Night Against Nashville
The Bruins opened up the season at home Thursday night against the defending Western Conference Champion, Nashville Predators. They were without Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron, and David Backes. Two of their top six forwards had never played in an NHL regular-season game. They were coming off of a short, disappointing post season run. Safe to say, while season potential was there, it was hard to expect much out of Boston’s first game. But, the young guns came to play and with some help from the veterans, the Bruins, for the most part, looked strong in their opener and came out with two points.
With the exception of Brad Marchand’s empty netter, Boston’s three other goals all came from a player 21 years of age or younger. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy, in his regular season debut, recorded a goal and an assist. Jake DeBrusk also recorded his first NHL goal and Anders Bjork earned his first NHL point with an assist. Lastly, David Pastrnak, coming off of a 34-goal season, got his first of the year as well. DeBrusk and Bjork seemed to bring an energized, fast-paced style of hockey, something absent in recent years in Boston.
Veteran David Krejci, surprisingly, looked like a new man, fit right in with the young stars and recorded three assists. Defenseman Adam McQuaid brought the tough black and gold style as well with a fight early on. Overall, Boston recorded 32 total shots, 13 takeaways and won 42 face-offs. For the most part, they were able to maintain pressure on Nashville and controlled a large portion of the game. There were obviously some mistakes and a learning curve for the young guys, but much to be happy about with in the home opener.
Shutout Against Colorado
So, how do the Bruins go from an impressive start and strong opener to getting shutout against a much weaker Colorado Avalanche? Injuries and a lack of preparation. Despite the new faces, and injuries, a sense of inconsistency and lack of focus still plagued the Bruins Monday afternoon. After three days rest and being the only team in the league to not play over the weekend, it looked like the Bruins were still on summer vacation when they got shutout by the Avalanche and went down 0-2 very early. While the rookies made common mistakes and were unable to add much input offensively, it wasn’t just inexperience that hurt the Bruins on Monday. Tuukka Rask allowed goals on two of the first five shots he faced, not giving the Bruins much hope or a chance to get things going in the first.
It did seem like the Bruins thought they could walk right over Colorado after giving a much stronger Nashville such a hard time in the opener. This obviously was not the case. Brad Marchand finished with just one shot and three giveaways in a very subpar performance from one of Boston’s top forwards. After a great opener, David Krejci fell back to earth with only one shot on net and a minus-two rating. Cassidy made a handful of line changes, in an attempt to mix things up, none of which seemed to work.
It’s no secret that Boston has a fairly easy opening schedule. With the whole past weekend off and six of their first seven games against teams who missed the playoffs last year, getting off on the right foot is not only expected, but a must for the black and gold. Luckily, Boston has a second chance against Colorado as they finish off a home-and-home tomorrow night. They continue their first road trip by visiting Arizona and then Vegas.
It does look like Torey Krug will be returning to the lineup on this road trip, but Patrice Bergeron and David Backes remain out, while Noel Acciari also joins the list of injured Bruins. So again, overcoming these injuries, and learning to stay consistent and focused no matter who is in the lineup where, is a must. Bouncing back tomorrow night and continuing out west on a positive note is on the minds of all the Bruins, including Sweeney.