With the calendar turning to November, the Boston Bruins are hoping to continue the success that they had in October. In this edition of Bruins Weekly, we take a look back at a historic beginning to the season, the strong play of one goaltender, a prospect bouncing back from an injury, and more.
Bruins Finish Historic October on a Roll
When it was announced in June that Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk were going to miss the beginning of the season recovering from offseason surgeries, it was thought that it was going to be a long two months before they are healthy and where would they be in the standings. I don’t think even the most optimistic Bruins fan saw this start happening.
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After Boston beat the Detroit Red Wings, 5-1, at the TD Garden on Oct. 27, they improved to 7-1-0 and it was the first time since the 1937-38 season that they recorded 14 points in the standings in their first eight games. One night later in a 4-0 shutout of the Columbus Blue Jackets, they made it 16 out of a possible 18 points in the standings, something they have never done before in franchise history. What makes this start to the season even more impressive, they are doing it under a first-year head coach, Jim Montgomery.
How impressive is this start to the season? Here are some more numbers from the historic month of October,
- The Bruins had 15 different goal scorers through 10 games.
- David Pastrnak led the team with seven goals and 10 assists in nine games with seven points coming on the power play. Let’s not forget that he is playing in a contract season.
- It did not take Nick Foligno long to pass his goal total from 2021-22. He scored two last season and he already has three, which he did in just six games this season.
- When David Krejci returned on a one-year contract, many wondered if he could continue to produce in the NHL. He proved a year away has not caused him to miss a step as in eight games, he has two goals and six assists.
- In three games last week against the Dallas Stars, Red Wings, and Blue Jackets, they outscored them, 12-2, in three impressive performances.
The law of averages will eventually catch up with the Black and Gold, but this start is something that nobody outside of the locker room saw coming.
Linus Ullmark Joins Elite Company With Strong October
The Bruin’s strong start to the season can be pointed to their goaltending, mainly Linus Ullmark. In six games, he has played himself into a topic of discussion with some of the best goaltenders in franchise history.
He became the fourth goalie to begin a season by winning his first six games. He joins Tiny Thompson (1936-37), Tim Thomas (2010-11), and Tuukka Rask (2016-17) in an impressive list. Ullmark has a 1.70 goals against average (GAA) and a .945 save percentage (SV%) in his seven games in October as he played the third period in relief of Jeremy Swayman in the Bruins’ 7-5 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 18 where he allowed one third period goal. Not only is Ullmark stopping nearly everything thrown his way, but he also is tracking the puck well, moving side-to-side quickly, and playing with a ton of confidence. Without him, there is no historic October for Montgomery and his team.
Lauko Scores First Career NHL Goal
Jakub Lauko has been one prospect that has been making an impact early in the season in the Bruins lineup. Against the Senators, he thought he scored his first career NHL goal, only to have Ottawa challenge the play and have the goal removed from the board. Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he made sure he was not going to be denied again. Late in the first period of a 1-1 game, Lauko took a cross-ice pass from Foligno and calmly roofed a wrist shot under the crossbar in the Bruins’ 6-5 overtime win. The 2018 Draft pick admitted he was not sure right away that the goal would stand.
“My first look was to the referee. When he said it was OK — there was a little hesitation that they’d challenge it.”Jakub Lauko (from ‘Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman’s prognosis unclear after injury in relief appearance,’ Boston Globe, Nov. 2 ,2022)
Lauko has been a nice surprise early in the season, while other prospects, Jack Studnicka (who was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 27) and Jakub Zboril both struggling.
Lysell Returns to Providence Lineup
Top prospect Fabian Lysell left the Providence Bruins American Hockey League (AHL) game on Oct. 21 with an upper-body injury. He missed the final two games on Oct. 22 and 23, but he returned to the lineup on Oct. 28 and played in the P-Bruins three games over the weekend.
The 21st overall pick in the 2021 Entry Draft had a point in each game. He scored a goal in the P-Bruins 2-1 win over the Charlotte Checkers on Oct. 28, then he had an assist in each game the next two nights against the Springfield Thunderbirds. In six AHL games this season, Lysell has two goals and seven assists.
There were questions as to how long it would take him to adjust to the professional game, but he has seemed to make the translation to the AHL a smooth one. There is no need to rush him up to Boston right now, but as long as he stays healthy and continues to play at the level he currently is, there is no reason he should not make his NHL debut this season if an injury occurs.
Bruins Quotes of the Week
- Montgomery on Jeremy Swayman’s bounce-back performance against the Red Wings: “He’s a high character kid, and I’m lucky to be an alum of the same University,” said Montgomery. “Talking to numerous coaches there and people in the community that I know…people rave about him as a person and we never had any doubt that when he got back in that he wasn’t going to put up this kind of performance.”
- Brad Marchand on returning to the lineup against Detroit: “It’s great to get back into a game like this where the team has success, and it’s just so nice to be part of it again,” said Marchand. “When you’re watching…obviously you’re part of it, but it’s completely different being in the room with the guys and on the ice and being in the mix. Long road, but very excited to be part of the team again and part of a victory.”
- Jake DeBrusk on finally scoring on a breakaway against Columbus: “I’ve had a couple this year where I’ve done the same move where it’s the backhand just shovel it in the pads,” said DeBrusk. “I was kind of getting [ticked] off, but this one I had time. I just tried to beat the goalie and it went in… when you have time like that, you try not to think because you have some much time. The ones when you don’t have time are the ones you score on, honestly. You’re looking at deke or shot and you make your decision around the blue line and just pick a corner and hope I goes in.”
- Charlie Coyle on the Bruins’ historic October: “I don’t know if a lot of people expected us to have the record that we have now. But it doesn’t matter. We know what’s in here, the guys we have, the guys that can fill in and take responsibility.”
Bruins Week Ahead
- Thursday: at New York Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday: at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m.
- Monday: vs. St. Louis Blues, 7 p.m.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.