Bruins continue to build off successful start
At 14-2-0, the Bruins are off to a start that not many saw coming.
Expected to be without Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy until sometime around Thanksgiving, it was hard to predict what the Bruins first month and a half would look like.
The Bruins have flown out the gate to the tune of the league’s best record, Marchand and McAvoy returned to action earlier than expected and the Bruins have gotten contributions from all over the lineup.
They’ve won games in different ways and have shown the ability to turn the tides of a hockey game with the flip of a switch.
This all comes in a season where up until the beginning of August, the organization was unsure of who the team’s top two centers would be. A year where the team is led by a new head coach in Jim Montgomery. And, as mentioned above, a year where the team started without its top left winger and top defenseman.
The scary part about all of this? Montgomery doesn’t think they’re close to their best.
“I don’t think our structure is excellent or even where we need to be yet. But I think the collective attitude of the group of enjoying playing for each other. I know I’ve said it a lot, but to me it’s been incredible,” he said.
“You see it. (Tomas) Nosek one game, (Nick) Foligno the next game. Then it’s (Trent) Frederic or (A.J.) Greer or someone blocking a shot or a goalie making a magnificent save at the right time. Just the way the guys continue to compete for each other is the main takeaway.”
As the Bruins and Montgomery continue to get comfortable with each other, it has not come at the expense of the Bruins production.
Whether it’s been exploring a five forward top power play unit, or juggling his top-six around a bit, nothing has seemed to slow the Bruins down as of now, allowing Montgomery to experiment in the lab as he sees fit.
That includes injuries to David Krejci and now Jeremy Swayman who was activated from injured reserve on Wednesday.
With the heavy workload Linus Ullmark has taken on of late—a combination of Swayman’s injury and Ullmark’s outstanding play—Swayman’s return comes at the perfect time.
“Linus has been playing too many games. I think he leads the league in games played. We want to get Sway back as soon as possible,” Montgomery said. “I can’t say it’s a rotation we’re gonna get back to, but getting more of a split, rotation going.”
Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak will be reunited once again in Philadelphia tonight, David Krejci centering Taylor Hall and Jake DeBrusk on the second line.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect the scoring depth,” Montgomery said. “I think a lot of it is dependent on matchups, who we’re playing, and whether we’re at home or on the road.”
What Montgomery has been able to get the team to do has been spectacular. Currently averaging four goals per game while allowing 2.19 per game, the Bruins lead the league in both categories.
20 different Bruins’ skaters have at least one goal. And of all Bruins who have appeared in five or more games this season only Brandon Carlo and Mike Reilly have failed to score a goal.
A lot has gone right for the Bruins through 16 games. They certainly hope that continues.