The Boston Bruins have jumped out to a start to the NHL season that is truly one for the ages.
The start to the season was full of questions. Starter mainstays such as Brad Marchand, Matt Grzelcyk, and Charlie McAvoy were all sidelined recovering from surgeries to start the season. In addition, the B’s were with new leadership under head coach Jim Montgomery following Bruce Cassidy’s firing after 6 years with the team. No one knew how what to expect going into this season. Even with the re-signing of captain Patrice Bergeron and center David Krejci couldn’t put worries to rest. The Bruins have had a bad track record of being unable to develop young prospects under GM Don Sweeney, and re-signing 2 players on the wrong side of 35 seemed like an old team getting older.
These concerns would quickly be put to rest, as with their win against Columbus on October 28th, the Boston Bruins sit at a record of 8-1-0; good for not only the best record in the entire NHL, but one of historic proportions for the Bruins. The 16 record points accrued are the most the Bruins have had through the first 9 games of a season in franchise history, and the best starting record the Bruins have had since 1930. The change from Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins to Jim Montgomery’s Bruins is slight, but noticeable. While they both emphasize offense in their systems, Montgomery’s defense seems to be a lot more technical and adaptive than Cassidy’s old-fashioned grit.
While all of the expected top line players are doing fantastic, David Pastrnak is currently leading the league in points scored and last year’s trade acquisition Hampus Lindholm is holding down the top defensive pair until McAvoy’s return, the backbone of the team is in the net. Aside from one particularly off night in a 7-5 loss in Ottawa, the goalie tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman has been lights-out. Ullmark, in particular, has been a brick wall, with 7 goals saved above expected, and garnering serious conversation about the possibility of the George Vezina trophy for the best goalie in the league.
The Bruins will embark on a 3 game road trip, against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 1st, the New York Rangers on the 3rd, and the Toronto Maple Leafs on the 5th.