Bruins’ 3 Up, 3 Down: Injuries Pile Up Again, Coyle, Krejci & More

Welcome to the latest edition of the Boston Bruins’ 3 Up, 3 Down for the 2022-23 season. This will be a weekly column released on Mondays chronicling the highs and lows of the previous seven days.

As the calendar turned to November last week, the Boston Bruins continued their strong start to the season by going 3-1-0 on their four-game road trip. There were plenty of ups and downs as they traveled through the East Coast and Canada as the injury bug hit again, while one veteran returned to the lineup. Here are six storylines for the Bruins from the last seven days.

Plus One: Charlie Coyle’s Continued Production

The Bruins have been getting production from up and down their lineup in the first 12 games. One player that is producing and playing some of his best hockey as a member of the Black and Gold is Charlie Coyle.

Charlie Coyle Boston Bruins
Charlie Coyle, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Coyle is up to five goals on the season and scored in four consecutive games from Oct. 27 through Nov. 3, including Boston’s first shorthanded goal of the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets, before being held scoreless by the Maple Leafs. He has seven points so far this season, while being strong on faceoffs, winning 53.9-percent (%) of them in 12 games. David Krejci returning was big for Coyle as it allows him to play in the spot he’s best suited for, a third-line center.

Minus One: Forbort & Swayman Suffer Injuries

Despite the Bruins’ 10-2-0  start to the season, it has not been hit without obstacles. Injuries have been a prominent storyline early in the season and the list grew longer against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 1. First defenseman Derek Forbort left in the first period after getting hit in the hand blocking a shot and then goaltender Jeremy Swayman left in the third period after colliding with Patrice Bergeron during a Penguins power play.

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Both players returned to Boston following the game and during the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Nov. 3, it was announced that Forbort underwent surgery on his right middle finger and would miss four-to-six weeks. Losing Forbort is a big blow as he has been one of the most consistent blueliners at even strength and a key penalty-killer. Swayman was placed on injured reserve ahead of the Bruins’ 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 5. Coach Jim Montgomery said he’s week-to-week and Keith Kinkaid was called up from the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL) to backup Linus Ullmark.

Plus Two: Penalty Kill Impressive in Wins Over Penguins & Rangers

One way a team can sustain long success is by having strong special teams units. The Bruins penalty kill has been a strong point all season and carried over on the road trip. Holding the Columbus Blue Jackets off the scoresheet down a man is nothing to write home about, however, keeping the Penguins and Rangers scoreless is.

Both teams can send dangerous power play units over the boards, but Boston was up for the challenge. They even killed a penalty in overtime against Pittsburgh before winning the game on a Hampus Lindholm goal. The Penguins were 0-for-4 on the man advantage, while the Rangers were 0-for-2. Keeping the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Vincent Trocheck scoreless in six combined opportunities is impressive, especially after losing Forbort early in the trip.

Minus Two: Bruins Power Play Struggles Continue

In three games last week, the Bruins’ power play went 2-for-9, with Marchand scoring both goals. He scored a second-period power play goal against the Penguins, then scored on a penalty shot against the Maple Leafs while they were on the man advantage. Boston was on the power play against Toronto when Marchand was taken down as he got behind the defense.

The Bruins have been getting mixed results from their two units. There are times that they struggle with zone entries, there are times when they have good zone entries and then there are times they try to force-feed David Pastrnak. Getting Marchand back has certainly helped the first unit and their struggles have been overshadowed by their start to the season, but it’s something they will have to improve as the season goes along.

Plus Three: David Krejci Returns to Lineup

In the Bruins 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 27, Krejci left the game with an upper-body injury following a high hit from Michael Rasmussen in the second period. Rasmussen received a two-game suspension from the NHL for the hit, which forced Boston’s No. 2 center out of the lineup for three games. He returned on Nov. 5 against the Maple Leafs and showed some expected rust.

David Krejci Boston Bruins
David Krejci, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Krejci played just under 18 minutes, landed two shots on the net, and looked like someone who had missed a week of action. When he took the hit against Detroit, it appeared that he might be out longer than nine days, but getting him back on the second line between Taylor Hall and Pastrnak is a good sign for the Bruins. Expect him to get better with each passing game.

Minus Three: Bruins Close Road Trip With Frustrating Loss to Toronto

Prior to the Black and Gold’s four-game road trip, it was seen as their first test away from the TD Garden. The Bruins passed the test by winning three out of four games, which included a three-goal rally against the Penguins and a four-goal third-period explosion against the Rangers. looking to cap a perfect week, Boston suffered just their second regulation loss of the season to Toronto.

Related: 3 Bruins Takeaways From 2-1 Loss to the Maple Leafs

Boston entered the game as the league’s highest-scoring team per game averaging 4.46 goals, but Toronto held them to just 21 shots, seven in each period, and did a good job of limiting the high-danger opportunities. Auston Matthews scored both goals and the Bruins failed to score on two third-period power plays. A 3-1-0 road trip is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Black and Gold had an opportunity for a very impressive early-season sweep against three very good Eastern Conference contenders.

The Bruins return home for five of their next six games at the TD Garden. Their 10-2-0 start is surprising, but with the Eastern Conference becoming compacted in the standings, they need to take advantage of their home games to bank some points in the standings.

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