4 out of a possible 6 points are what the Boston Bruins will be bringing home to the TD Garden after their opening road trip. Wins in Winnipeg and Columbus, and a rough loss to Toronto to start off are alright with me. But now you are probably saying why are you happy with a 2 win and 1 loss opening record?
My major reason that I am happy with all of this is the Bruins got the wins without their future captain. For those scoring at home, that future captain is Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron has missed the opening 3 contests and has been, if not the best, one of the best players on the Bruins. He is a habitual Selke Award finalist and is a force in every facet of the game. Without Bergeron on the ice, there is seemingly a hole in the lineup, but the Bruins were able to make-do with the lineup they had.
The youth movement has been even more sprung forward with multiple additions to the front and back ends. A guy I am super impressed with is Brandon Carlo. Carlo is just 19, but stands at 6 foot 5 inches and 200 lbs. He is at a league leading +7, for a rookie that is pretty darn good. I really think Carlo is the next big thing for defense in the league, and if they are to position him right they can really harness his abilities. Having him play under the wing of Zdeno Chara is something that Claude did right. Have the captain teach his protege the ropes and have him learn a bit on his own. Carlo is the next coming folks, and we are going to bear witness to it.
Youth on the front end needs some work, but I am confident in them gaining their own ground. Austin Czarnik is stuck with the immovable object(Jimmy Hayes) on his line right now. Once Cznarik is put or given a decent linemate, then I think we could see some major improvement. For Danton Heinen, I think he is poised to break out in the home opener. I think it would be a MASSIVE mistake to take him off the Krecji and Spooner line. Krecji could be a massive facilitator for him. I honestly don’t know too much about Tim Schaller, but with an assist in a game, is something I can really get used to.
Dominic Moore and Riley Nash could be major players on that fourth line. They are not quite like that “Merlot Line”(Thornton-Campbell-Paille) we saw. But I think if they are out on the ice in big moments they could really contribute. Moore did it last night with a goal 19 seconds after Blake Wheeler broke the ice. If you have time, look up Dominic Moore, he has a story everyone should hear. Maybe this is where you plug in Czarnik, if they play well with him, this could be a hybrid version of that line we saw a few years back.
Now for the big guns. Am I confident in the playing of Marchand, Pastrnak and Backes? Oh yes I am. But they have only played together this season. So with the return of Bergeron could be something interesting. You break the three of them up, now you probably have Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak. Then I think you could drop Backes down to play with Belesky and Hayes for the time being. Or you have him play wing with Krecji, an option that I think should take priority.
Tuukka has to be on a Vezina style game. Plain and simple he cannot be stuck in the middle of the pack. He has to be the rock in the crease. Khudobin has to be a credible backup like he once was. They can be a successful duo, they just need to be successful.
They have the tools for success, they just need to harness them. I think they’re a playoff team through the power of positivity. Go Bruins.