Yesterday, the Boston Bruins hosted the Anaheim Ducks for their first matinee game of the season. In years past we have seen them struggle with daytime games, but yesterday they did not disappoint. Their top line continued their scoring streak to improve the team’s record to 5-1-0 with Jaroslav Halak stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced.
For the most part, they played a fairly solid and sound game. However, they are still struggling to find their niche in the second period which is resulting in a lot of puck mismanagement and mistakes. Below are some of the key talking points from yesterday’s matchup.
Prestigious Player: David Pastrnak
It goes without saying that yesterday’s prestigious player is David Pastrnak. He helped put the Bruins ahead, netting a goal on their first power-play opportunity of the game, just eight seconds after it began. He slapped a one-timer from the faceoff circle past Gibson to give them a one-goal advantage. They were able to maintain possession through the majority of the first period but struggled to keep the momentum in the second.
Pastrnak ended up in the penalty box for a bogus tripping call but must have refueled with a medium iced coffee as he came out and put the Bruins up by two. In the third period, he added another two goals for a total of four goals scored, becoming the 19th player in Bruins’ history to have a four-goal game.
He played a solid game and proved why he is an elite player. Each of his goals portrayed a different aspect of his scoring abilities. He is great with the quick one-timers off of the faceoff, smart throughout the neutral zone to generate odd-man rushes and has a strong net-front presence to be able to jam the pucks into the net.
With his four goals yesterday, Pastrnak now has six goals and four assists for the season and is riding a five-game point streak. If he keeps the pace up, he could be looking at an 82-goal season.
Black Mark: Second Period
If there is one thing that we can complain about the Bruins thus far this season, it is their sloppy second period. They went into the second up by one and outshooting their opponent 11-8. They attempted to dump the puck up ice and chase it down but came up short in every opportunity. They had poor puck management, resulting in turnovers and odd-man rushes for the Ducks.
Essentially the Bruins fell asleep during the middle stretch, leaving Jaroslav Halak to fend for himself. Fortunately, he was up to the task stopping 15 of the 16 shots he faced as Rickard Rakell used Charlie McAvoy as a screen to be able to beat him from the faceoff circle.
Defining Moment: Bruins’ Second Goal
With the Bruins playing a more relaxed second period the Ducks also made some marginal errors. However, they forgot to consider what line was on the ice for a shift. The Ducks’ Lindholm went to clear the puck from the zone, turned it over to Brad Marchand who fed the puck to Pastrnak for the second goal of the game with eight minutes remaining in the second.
The goal boosted the team’s morale and motivated them to be stronger on the puck. They began generating more offense and battling along the boards. It also served as the top line’s 12th goal of the season.
Honorable Mention: Penalty Kill
Last season the penalty kill unit was one of the Bruins’ biggest weaknesses. They were solid defensively at even strength but struggled when it came to be at the disadvantage. They were ranked 16th in the league for the regular season at 79.9%. Once the playoffs struck and Bergeron and Chara were added onto the special teams, their percentage increased to 88.4%.
The penalty kill was put to the test yesterday as there were some questionable calls being made. One being a slashing call that saw Bergeron’s stick hardly touching the opponent with another tripping call stemming from Max Comtois tripping over his own skates. While the bogus calls could attribute to some of the Bruins’ second-period demise, their penalty kill was solid. They worked hard and outworked their opponent playing aggressive and winning battles along the boards. They managed to kill all four penalties faced yesterday proving with each shift they’re getting better and better.
By the Numbers: 11
The number of goals the Bruins’ top line has scored out of the total 14. There’s no question the top line consisting of Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak is unstoppable having each member on a five-game point streak. They’ve also been dominating on the penalty kill. After a dominating home opener against the Devils, coach Bruce Cassidy stated:
“I think what it does more is deflates the other team,” Cassidy said of Marchand and Bergeron’s skills on the penalty kill. “If that’s our power play, and I see a team doing that, frustration sets in from the coaching staff; the players on the ice are frustrated and so I think it more demoralizes the opposition than it does to lift us up. We’ve seen them go to work, so that’s the benefit of when you’re able to kill with puck possession a penalty and do it so dominantly.”NBC Sports Boston
There is no question that their top line can perform. However, they are only going to have so much gas in the tank before they start to burn out. They are going to have to be able to look elsewhere for their scoring if they want to make another strong Stanley Cup Run.