In this week’s edition of Bruins Weekly, Brad Marchand opens the scoring on the Boston Bruins 2021-22 season in an odd way, Jermey Swayman stays hot at home, the Bruins hit the road for their road trip of the season, and more.
Marchand Scores Unusual First Goal of 2021-22
In the 56-game 2020-21 season, Marchand led the Bruins in goals with 29. It was not a surprise to see him open the scoring in the first game of the 2021-22 season, but how he scored it was a little bit surprising. He lit the lamp on a penalty shot of all things.
Late in the first period of a scoreless game with the Dallas Stars, Marchand intercepted a pass just outside the offensive blueline and broke in alone on Braden Holtby. He was hooked from behind by Dallas’ Ryan Suter, which resulted in a penalty shot. Boston’s first-line left wing took advantage of the opportunity and scored on Holtby for this first of his two goals in a 3-1 Bruins victory.
What stands out from the play is it appeared the play was going to be offsides as David Pastrnak was still in the Stars zone. It was a bang-bang play at the line with Pastrnak tagging up and Marchand bringing the puck over the line. It was a call that could have gone either way and Marchand knows that.
“I kind actually let up for a second after I picked it up. I didn’t see, I think it was (David Pastrnak) offside, right away. I saw him kind of coming and I kind of waited a split second to see if it was gonna be off and then when I didn’t hear the whistle, I kind of just kept going and tried to get inside of Suter and luckily they called that one.”Brad Marchand
It was just the third penalty shot goal for a team’s first goal of a season in league history. Mats Sundin did it for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 4, 2006, and current Bruins assistant coach Chris Kelly also did it as a member of the Black and Gold on Oct. 3, 2013, against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not something you would expect to see on opening night.
Swayman Remains Perfect at Home
Last season, rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman burst onto the scene winning seven of his 10 starts. He won all four starts at the TD Garden in 2020-21 and had a better training camp and preseason than new teammate Linus Ullmark. It was not a surprise when coach Bruce Cassidy announced Swayman the starter in the season-opener against Dallas.
The 22-year-old Swayman made 27 saves in the Bruins victory to raise his record to 5-0 in his short career in games played at the TD Garden. Coming into the season, there were questions as to whether or not he could continue his solid play from last season. For one game, he did. There is a lot to like about Swayman the way he handles himself and plays in the net. He has a lot of confidence for a young player.
Goalies to Split Road Trip
The Bruins hit the road for the first time in the regular season when they play at the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres. Both teams were MassMutual East Division opponents of the Black and Gold last season in the realigned divisions for one season.
Swayman will play the first game against the Flyers, while Ullmark, who played the first six seasons of his career with the Buffalo Sabres, will get the start in his return to the KeyBank Center against his former team. Buffalo is off to a 3-0 start and sits atop the Atlantic Division with the Florida Panthers early this season at 3-0. The Sabres have home wins over the Montreal Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes, and Vancouver Canucks.
The Week Ahead
- Wednesday: vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m.
- Friday: at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m.
- Sunday: vs. San Jose Sharks, 1 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.