The Boston Bruins continued their early-season surprise by winning all three of their games in the last seven days at the TD Garden. In this edition of Bruins Weekly, we will look at some prospects in the minors, the week that a Bruins goaltender had, a former captain returned for a ceremony, and more.
Lysell Suffers Injury, Beecher Struggling in Providence
Top prospect Fabian Lysell has had a strong start with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL) with one goal and five assists in just three games. The 2021 first-round draft pick missed the final two games of the P-Bruins weekend on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23 after suffering an injury in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Bridgeport Islanders on Oct. 21.
Lysell is listed as day-to-day according to Mark Divver of New England Hockey Journal, but the Bruins hope that it’s just a minor setback. Craig Smith has struggled to begin the season for the Black and Gold and even found himself as a healthy scratch in back-to-back games a week ago. If Boston needs right wing depth in the NHL, Lysell’s health will be key in who gets called up.
John Beecher entered training camp with a chance to fight for a bottom-six roster spot, but he fell victim to a numbers game and was sent to the AHL. It has not been a good beginning to the season for the former University of Michigan standout who has yet to record a point and has slid down coach Ryan Mounegel’s lineup to the bottom six. It’s early and the 2019 first-round pick will get better as the season goes along.
Zboril Healthy Scratch vs. Stars
One player on defense that took advantage of the Bruins’ injury situation early this season was Jakub Zboril. He had a good start to training camp and the preseason, stumbled down the stretch, but found himself in the lineup for first-year coach Jim Montgomery. After playing the first six games, he found himself as a healthy scratch against the Dallas Stars on Oct. 25.
Related: Bruins Prospects Report: Kuntar, Jellvik, Brunet & More
It has not been a bad start to the season for the 13th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft, but he has not exactly stuck out. He has gone about his business 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill, but he has yet to record a point and on a team that has a plus-8 goal differential, he has a plus/minus of plus-1. It was only a matter of time before Zboril found himself sitting on the ninth floor at the TD Garden, but with Brandon Carlo returning to the lineup from an upper-body injury, Montgomery saw it as a perfect chance to give Zboril a break. With a four-game road trip coming up and back-to-back games at the end of the week, the time off might do him some good.
Ullmark Strong in Three Wins
Is there a goaltending controversy in Boston? That remains to be seen, but Linus Ullmark is making a very strong case to be the No. 1 goalie. On Oct. 20, he made 30 saves, including one on a breakaway in overtime, to help the Bruins steal a 2-0 shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks.
After giving up a second-period goal to Frank Vatrano to tie the game, he stopped everything else thrown his way. After 11 third-period saves, he made five in overtime, including stopping Ryan Strome on a breakaway. Ullmark stopped all three shootout attempts by Troy Terry, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Max Comtois to help the Bruins get the extra point.
Two days later against the Minnesota Wild, he made 27 saves in a 4-3 overtime win. Boston vastly outplayed the Wild in the extra session and outshot them 9-1, before Taylor Hall won the game with a power play goal with 10 seconds left. In a not-so-surprising move, he has back in the net for the Bruins’ game against the Stars in a 3-1 win on Oct. 25. Ullmark finished with 30 saves in the game to cap a perfect week.
In five games this season, he is 5-0-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average (GAA) and a .936 save percentage (SV%). He is a big reason why the Bruins are 6-1-0 through seven games.
Bruins Bring Chara Back for Ceremonial Puck Drop
Former captain and defenseman Zdeno Chara signed a one-day contract on Sept. 20 and retired as a member of the Bruins. Before the game against the Wild on Oct. 22, came out to center ice with his two sons, Ben and Zack, and they had a ceremonial puck drop with Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and Minnesota captain Jared Spurgeon.
Chara will always be remembered for his toughness and for playing through injuries, making the ultimate sacrifices to be on the ice at all costs. In 14 seasons with the Black and Gold, he played 1,023 regular-season games with 481 career points. In 150 playoff games, he had 56 points and delivered 437 hits. He was a big reason why Boston ended their Stanley Cup drought in 2011 with a seven-game series win over the Vancouver Canucks and he also helped them get back to two more Stanley Cup Final appearances. He also played for the Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, and Washington Capitals.
Bruins Quotes of the Week
- Matt Grzelcyk on making his 2022-23 season debut: “I felt good. It was just fun to be back out there,” said Grzelcyk. “You get a little anxious before the game, not really sure how it’s going to play out, but I just kept reminding myself that I’m in a fortunate position, lucky to be back. The guys have been playing great, and I just wanted to come in and make it as seamless as I could. It wasn’t our best effort tonight but found a way to win. And Linus played great. We relied on him and Hallsy, as well.”
- Montgomery on Jack Studnicka’s frustrating season b=debut against the Ducks: “I don’t think Jack had his best night, but our whole team didn’t,” said Montgomery. “He wasn’t alone, but we found a way to get two points and we’re going to enjoy the two points, but we’re not going to be happy with the team play.“
- Montgomery on the Bruins’ overtime win over the Wild: “I thought that was our best game of the year, how we want to play with and without the puck. Unfortunately, things don’t always go your way, but I like the way we keep handling adversity, and we just forge ahead,” said Montgomery.
- Nick Foligno on his early-season success: “I think I’m just excited about contributing any way you can,” said Foligno. “I think last year obviously was different. This year it’s trying to contribute on the scoresheet but also just the way I play, how I’m [trying to] help drive the bottom six here and make sure we have an identity each and every night.”
- Montgomery on the Grzelcyk/Hampus Lindholm paring on defense: “Well, Grizz has a high end brain like Lindy does. He sees the ice at a high level, but with the two of them, because they skate so well, they cover so much ice so I think they make you dangerous in all three zones with the puck.”
Bruins Week Ahead
- Thursday: vs. Detroit Red Wings, 7 p.m.
- Friday: at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m.
- Tuesday: at Pittsburgh Penguins, 8 p.m.