After winning two out of three games on the road to start their season, the Boston Bruins will head home to host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, October 20.
Things weren’t looking good heading into the season as Bruins management failed to bring in any improvements to the team’s defensive corps, but the team managed to earn four out of a possible six points to open their season, thanks to the help of newcomers and returners alike.
David Pastrnak has arguably been the team’s most valuable player at this point.
The 20-year-old right winger seems to have bulked up in the offseason and has tallied 4 goals and 2 assists in the first three games. Pastrnak is poised for a breakout year and he seems to be off to a great start.
Brad Marchand also started the season off on the right foot as he racked up five points in the season opener against Columbus.
This performance left fans feeling optimistic, especially considering he wasn’t playing alongside his usual linemate of Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron has yet to make his season debut and has been sidelined with a lower-body injury for the first three games.
The third bright spot that sticks out to me as the season gets underway is offseason acquisition David Backes. Backes signed a five-year contract with the Bruins this summer worth $30 million, a contract that seemed a bit too lengthy at the time.
However, Bruins fans are sure to be satisfied with Backes’ play thus far as he’s managed to put up 5 points, a plus-minus of 5, and has even managed to get into one fight.
Needless to say Backes fits right in with the Bruins and looks like he’s on his way to a successful year wearing the spoked-B.
On the back end, Tuukka Rask looked as solid as ever in his performance against the Winnipeg Jets when he stopped 34 of 35 shots.
After the season opener when Rask conceded a very weak goal on the first shot of the season, I was concerned.
Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin got the nod in the second game of the season, in which the Bruins fell 4-1 to Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rask bounced back in his performance on Monday.
The big question mark that remains for the Bruins is their defensive lineup.
Zdeno Chara is well past his prime at this point and is no longer the shutdown defenseman the Bruins need to lead the young players on the back end of the roster, specifically Rob O’Gara and Brandon Carlo.
O’Gara has looked shaky at best in his first few games, but Brandon Carlo has been sliding under the radar as a reason to be optimistic moving forward. Carlo notched his first career goal against the Jets on Monday and leads the NHL in plus-minus. Hopefully his solid play will maintain down the stretch.
Even with the success of Carlo and other young players, the entirety of the defensive lineup for the Bruins isn’t strong enough to be a serious contender.
Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney needs to bring in someone new, and many fans are hoping that someone is Jacob Trouba.
Trouba has made it clear that he wants out of Winnipeg and the Bruins could certainly use his talent.
However, the price required to bring Trouba to Boston might be a little too much for Sweeney and the Bruins to pay.
A second option could be Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler who seems to also be on Sweeney’s radar, but Anaheim’s demands for a return package could be an issue, similar to Winnipeg.
Technicalities and analyses aside, Boston is off to a better start than I anticipated and I’m hopeful the team only goes up from here.
Crae Messer can be contacted at Cmesser@kscequinox.com