The Boston Bruins finished up their first road trip of the season Monday, posting a two and one record over a slate that saw them play the Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Winnipeg Jets. Without Patrice Bergeron, arguably one of the best center men in the league, the Black and Gold were still able to get off to a strong start. With that said, there is still a lot to keep an eye on going forward.
- Brad Marchand. This guy is an absolute monster. Thus far, Marchand is averaging over 2 pts/game and is making his presence felt all over the ice. Last year, Marchand had a career high 37 goals, this summer, he dominated on the first line for Canada at the World Cup and through the first road trip of the year, he’s picking up right where he left off. There’s no doubt he has developed into one of the best wingers in the league and with Bergeron set to return over the coming week or two, Marchand should continue to be a force.
- The aggressiveness of David Pastrnak. Pasta looks like a completely different player this year. He’s stronger on the boards and in the corners, he’s attacking defenders with confidence, and he has four goals in three games. One of the major criticisms of Claude has been his inability to develop young, offensively skilled players. Thus, to see Pastrnak off to such a strong start is definitely a welcomed sight.
- The Defense. Over the first three games, against three weak opponents, the D has been shaky. I can only imagine what it will look like when the Blackhawks of the world come to town. It will be about as reliable as me going to the gym. It might show up once a week. Claude’s calling card is defense so we’ll see if he can pull this unit together.
- Tuukka Rask. Tuukka had a tough first week. Fans still have a bad taste in their mouth from last season when he pulled himself out of the season finale with a playoff birth on the line due to a stomach illness. Bitch move as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, Tuukka allowed two soft goals in the opener against Columbus and followed it up by riding the bench in a 4-1 loss to the Leafs where Khudobin looked like absolute garbage. Rask is the 3rd highest paid goalie in the league. This team will go as far as Tuukka takes them. If he doesn’t pull himself together soon, things will go down hill fast for the former Vezina Award winner.
One Thing to Look For Over The Next Week:
- David Backes. A lot of fans criticized the 32 year olds contract (30mil/5yrs) but what he has brought to the Bruins can’t be understated. The former Blues captain has brought toughness, grit, and balls to a team that by the end of last year had completely lost itself. He stands up for his teammates, gets in the dirty areas, and makes plays for his teammates. What else can you ask for? I admit, he may not have the top end skill of a top top 6 forward but this guy will play his ass off every night out. Backes has shown me more in three games than Loui Eriksson showed me in three years. Let’s see if he can keep it up.