Through the first five games of this young NHL season, the Boston Bruins have been underwhelming to say the least. While a team’s record through five games of an eighty-two game season is not something to be concerned about, how the team plays through those five games might be concerning.
The Bruins’ top skaters have been up to the task. Brad Marchand has six points in five games, continuing his great season from last year. David Pastrnak and David Krejci, as well as newcomers Jake Debrusk and Charlie McAvoy, each have four points in five games. The top defensive pairing of Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo have played well despite putting up fewer points. Chara in particular has looked the best he has in a few seasons to start the year.
On the flip side, the depth skaters on the team have left much to be desired. Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid have looked overwhelmed, and Torey Krug has not looked up to speed since returning from his injury. Both Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano have gone pointless in their games. Ryan Spooner only put one point in four games before leaving with an injury in the fifth game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Anders Bjork has also not played up to expectations on the second line with Krejci.
Tuukka Rask has also started the season off cold. He has only one win in four starts, coupled with an .882 save percentage and a 3.30 goals against average. Rask needs to pick up his game if the Bruins want to get back on track.
Both Anton Khudobin and Danton Heinen have stood out despite limited games. Khudobin played fantastically in his one start against the Arizona Coyotes, allowing only two goals on thirty-one shots. Heinen did not start the season with the Bruins, but has played well since called up on October 10. He has three assists through three games.
An injury to Patrice Bergeron has certainly held the team back. Any team losing their top line center who plays the most forward minutes on the team is goinging to be thrown out of whack. His injury is still under wraps and has not been stated specifically, but head coach Bruce Cassidy has stated he may be back for the game against Vancouver on Thursday. If not then, he should be back for Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Other teams in the Atlantic division have started the season off strong. The Tampa Bay Lightning has dominated early with a healthy Steven Stamkos. The Toronto Maple Leafs look improved beyond what they were last year and the Ottawa Senators have yet to lose in regulation. The Eastern Conference is cluttered, especially around the wild card spots. The Bruins cannot afford to get into a funk for too long.
Edit: Since this article was published Danton Heinen was sent down, as was Austin Czarnik. Head coach Cassidy said Bergeron and David Backes will most likely draw into the lineup on Thursday.