The Bruins concluded October with a 4-0 shutout of the Blue Jackets Friday night, improving their record to an NHL-best 8-1-0.
Nine games, eight victories, all coming under a new coach, a team missing its top left winger in Brad Marchand for all but one game and without Charlie McAvoy, the team’s top defenseman as he continues to rehab from offseason surgery.
The “next man up” mentality may be as cliché as they come in sports, but the Bruins have brought that cliché to a whole new level getting contributions from nearly every player that has touched the ice, skaters and goalies included.
24 skaters have appeared in at least one of the Bruins nine games to date. Five of those 24 have yet to register a point.
Of those five, four—Dan Renouf, Brandon Carlo, Jakub Zboril and Anton Stralman—are defensemen and the lone forward on the list, Jack Studnicka—who was traded to Vancouver on Thursday, more below—has appeared in just one game.
"It's a great start. I don't know if a lot of people expected us to have the record that we have now. But it doesn't matter," said Charlie Coyle who has three goals and two assists through nine games.
"We know what's in here, the guys we have, the guys that can fill in, and take responsibility. That's a great sign for a team with a few key guys out.”
Many were writing the Bruins off during the off-season, using question marks around both their offensive and defensive depth as well as what’s left in the tanks of 37-year old Patrice Bergeron and 36-year old David Krejci as ammunition.
Bergeron is second on the team in points (4 goals, 5 assists) with nine, Krejci—who left Thursday’s contest with an upper-body injury, more below—third with eight (2 goals, 6 assists).
Beyond Bergeron, Krejci and David Pastrnak who to the surprise of nobody, leads the team in goals with seven, assists with nine and points with 16, the Bruins have gotten plenty of secondary scoring, something the team has lacked in past seasons.
Taylor Hall: 4-3-7
Pavel Zacha: 1-4-5
Hampus Lindholm: 2-5-7
Nick Foligno: 3-1-4
And so on and so on.
Where the Bruins really have shined has been in goal, led by the play of Linus Ullmark. With his first shutout of the season Friday, Ullmark improved his record to 6-0-0. His 1.70 goals-against average and .945 save percentage both sit inside the top-five of NHL goalies. He leads the league in wins.
Jeremy Swayman who struggled through his first two starts, was excellent in his most recent start, a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, a step in the right direction for the young forward.
David Krejci remains day-to-day
Krejci left Thursday’s victory over the Red Wings with an upper-body injury after taking a hit from Detroit’s Michael Rasmussen. Rasmussen was suspended for two games, Krejci did not travel to Columbus for Friday’s contest.
As of Monday morning, Krejci remains day-to-day. There should be a further update Monday as the Bruins were off both Saturday and Sunday.
Bruins trade Jack Studnicka to Vancouver
In the middle of the Bruins three goal third period Thursday, the Bruins formally announced that they had traded center Jack Studnicka to Vancouver in exchange for goalie Michael DiPietro and the rights to 19-year-old Swedish defenseman Jonathan Myrenberg.
“His initial onboarding was really good. Trajectory was really good. During the COVID year, which was disjointed for a lot of players, he just kind of stalled just a little bit. Then it was up and down,” general manager Don Sweeney said.
“Opportunities in and out. No fault of Jack’s. Maybe more fault on ours in terms of not being able to get him fully acclimated to the level he had been playing at in the AHL and producing.”
It was always an uphill battle for Studnicka, stuck behind Bergeron, Krejci and Charlie Coyle on the depth chart. Studnicka was never able to get enough playing time to develop his game at the NHL level.
The Bruins even tried playing Studnicka on the wing in hopes of generating some sort of spark, however, a spark never came.