3 Bruins’ Takeaways From Preseason Win Over Flyers

The third of six preseason games for the Boston Bruins was one in that first-year coach Jim Montgomery used a mixture of veterans who saw their first game action of the 2022-23 preseason and some younger guys who are fighting to earn a roster spot out of training camp. The Black and Gold beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-0, Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden, but it was a game that had mixed results for Boston that included two key injuries.

After two home games this past week, the Bruins will hit the road for two out of their final three preseason games, but before they go to play the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers on the road, here are three takeaways from Saturday’s victory over the Flyers.

Lysell and Hall Have Afternoon Cut Short

Top prospect Fabian Lysell was in the top-six for the game, on the second line with Taylor Hall and David Krejci. It wasn’t the afternoon that the talented forward and the Bruins were hoping for. With Boston on the power play in the first period, Lysell lost the puck in the offensive end along the boards and then was called for a hooking penalty.

Fabian Lysell Boston Bruins
Fabian Lysell, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Early in the second period, Lysell was in the corner in the offensive end, and with his head down, he ran into the back of Flyers defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen. He went directly to the locker room with some help. It was a tough break for the 21st overall pick in the 2021 Entry Draft as he was looking to build off his performance against Philadelphia last week and trying to earn a spot on the roster.

Hall played in the first two periods and like Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, it took the first 20 minutes to work off rust, but the second period was better before he did not come out for the final 20 minutes. Despite playing just over eight minutes, Hall finished with three shots on the net. Following the game, Montgomery said that both injuries were not serious and both players should just miss a day or two.

Zboril Should Have Roster Spot Locked Up

Entering training camp, a lot of the talk was about the injuries on defense with Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk and who was going to fill those two spots until they return. Jakub Zboril was looked at as one of the players that could get a spot by moving to his off-side on the right and the 13th overall pick of the 2015 Draft and general manager (GM) Don Sweeney’s first pick as GM has all but locked up a roster spot against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 12.

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Zboril logged 20:53 in time on ice, played in all situations, and made play after play with the puck. He quarterbacked the four forward, one defensemen power play, and finished with two blocked shots defensively. Since his first shift in the preseason opener on Sept. 24, a 2-1 loss to the Flyers, Zboril has been hands down the best defensemen for the Bruins. Montgomery will have some decisions to make with the defense on how his pairings are going to look and Zboril can be on either side.

Fourth-Line Battle Intensifies

There are no questions surrounding what the Bruins’ top-six will look like and the case can be made that the third-line is pretty much set. However, there has been a battle going on in camp and in the preseason game as to who will make up the fourth line. Saturday, Montgomery’s lineup was filled with several candidates who are looking to be in Washington in 10 days.

Marc McLaughlin continues to make plays early in the preseason with the first two goals. He tipped a Jack Ahcan shot from the point on the power play for a 1-0 lead in the second period, then doubled the lead in the third period when he stuffed home a loose puck at the side of the net. He finished the game with a team-high four shots on the net. One thing that is working against him is that he does not require waivers, which could mean he’s destined to begin the season with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Johnny Beecher scored the other two Bruins goals in the third period. Derek Forbort’s pass deflected off of his skate and went into the net. Two minutes later, he closed out the scoring by scoring a shorthanded empty-net goal. Beecher has played very well in his two preseason games as he has used his speed to get to loose pucks and enter the offensive zone.

John Beecher Boston Bruins
John Beecher, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Three veterans who are fighting for their lives to make the roster are Tomas Nosek, Nick Foligno, and Chris Wagner. All three played against Philadelphia Saturday. During his time with the Bruins, Wagner has been a physical presence on the fourth line and a good penalty-killer. He delivered eight hits against the Flyers and was key in killing all four penalties. Nosek was moved around the lineup and was given every opportunity to impress the coaching staff. He centered Jake DeBrusk and Pavel Zacha in the third period and was on the second power play unit. Foligno had another uneventful game and sooner or later, the Bruins are going to have to make a decision on him and his $3.8 million contract for this season.

Overall, it was a good game for Zboril, McLaughlin, and Beecher, while Krejci, Hall, and Bergeron were working off a lot of rust. There are going to be some big decisions for Montgomery and his staff need to make in the coming days. McLaughlin, Beecher, and Wagner did not make those decisions any easier Saturday.