Czech-Mates

Your Boston Bruins kicked off their 2022-2023 campaign tonight at the Capital One Arena vs. the Washington Capitals. By the end of 60 the chants of “Let’s Go Bruins” had drowned out the arena sound effects and BOS stashed 2 points in the books as they secured the 5-2 victory.

With injuries to some key players (don’t know if you’ve heard?), this was not the starting lineup that we’ve seen the last few years. We welcomed back some (very very very much missed) familiar faces, a couple of prospects (but maybe not the ones you would have thought), the recently waived (and unclaimed), and a forward line comprised of Czechian countrymen (who led the way).

The Bruins got it going with about 12 mins left to play in the first while on the first power play of the year. David Pastrnak shot from the RW circle and his rebound popped to Patrice Bergeron in the high slot at his usual bumper spot. Bergy corralled the puck with his foot and popped it back far side beating Darcy Kuemper to his right. I mean who else but Bergy would you want to get it going? Nice new wrinkle from new HC Jim Montgomery as the PP1 unit had Taylor Hall and Bergy in an “I” formation in the slot.

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on October 12, 2022.

Pasta doubled it up later in the period when he walked up and out of the RW circle after a long offensive possession/cycle on the wall and behind the WAS net (another hallmark of the Jim Montgomery style of play) . Pastrnak came up around the RW circle from down low and dogwalked two Cap defenders before putting Martin Fehervary in his own personal spin cycle and beating Kuemper 5-hole. Don’t look now, but Pasta was looking pretty strong on that wall possession. Rumor is that it’s his contract year, don’t know if you’ve heard that or not?

It was at this point in the game that the first “Let’s Go Bruins” chants could be heard over the TNT feed. I guess “All Caps” isn’t as catchy?

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on October 12, 2022.

In the middle stanza Hall got on the board when he shoveled one past a sprawling Kuemper to put the B’s up by a 3-spot. Hall gathered the puck in the BOS defensive zone and narrowly avoided a big open ice elbow hit from Conor Sheary (some things never change, the sun rises in the East and WAS plays dirty) before moving the puck to Mike Reilly at the blue line. Reilly carried into the WAS zone and found Pastrnak cross-seam driving the net. Pasta laid the puck back across to Hall, who had never stopped skating, and he bunted it past Kuemper.

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on October 13, 2022.

Things got a little sloppy after that. The Bruins gave up some odd-man rushes due to some ill-timed pinches and some bad changes. Linus Ullmark had no chance on the first goal against, but I’d bet he’d want the 2nd one back. That score held for the period and the B’s went to the room up by 1 at the end of 2 periods. The Ice Bear Dude was lights out tonight. Fluid with his movements and sharp on his angles, he robbed Evgeny Kuznetsov to open the 3rd with a flash of the glove and he later shut the gates during a shorthanded breakaway when the Caps were trying to claw their way back in. 

Old friend David Krejci (MAN IT FEELS GOOD TO SEE HIM OUT THERE) put the B’s back up by 2 when he finished off a Pastrnak breakaway to get his first of the year. Pavel Zacha moved the puck out of the zone to Krejci who was breaking through the neutral zone. Krejci almost one-touched it right onto Pastrnak’s tape as he broke into the Caps zone, Pasta drove the net on his backhand but his shot went off Kuemper’s pads. Krejci was following the play and went bardown on his backhand for the dagger.

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on October 13, 2022.

Hampus Lindholm hit a 200ft beauty of an empty netter for the final. Up next is the home opener vs. the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Plus/Minus

Plus

  • The line of Pavel Zacha – David Krejci – David Pastrnak was excellent. They combined for 2G-6A-8Pts and looked as if they’ve been playing together for years. Zacha adds an element of speed to the line, Pasta looks stronger on the puck and Krejci still has the ability to alter time and space.
  • I think Derek Forbort had a strong game on the back end, as did Lindholm.
  • I think the Bruins may have something in Jakub Lauko and AJ Greer. Lauko’s speed was on display all night and he drew 2 penalties in limited minutes (11:36TOI). Greer was great on the puck and complimented Charlie Coyle’s possession game nicely. I think Greer will be able to provide some room out there for Craig Smith as well.
  • Jim Montgomery’s fingerprints are evident in all phases of the game. Besides the PP adjustment and offensive cycle game I’ve already mentioned, he’s taken the leash off the defensemen. This year they have the green light to jump in on the play to assist on the offense. Yeah it bit them a few times tonight but I like the aggressive nature. They were also funneling the Caps to the outside in the defensive zone making it much easier for Ullmark to track the puck. Last thing I noticed was the breakouts. The Bruins were taking advantage of the gaps in middle of the zone, enabling them to hit the neutral zone with speed. It was a good counter to WAS trying to clog up the walls down low.

Minus

  • Jake DeBrusk didn’t return for the 3rd period after falling awkwardly on his arm late in the 2nd. He played a few shifts after the play, but didn’t make if back. The team has him listed with an “upper body injury”.
  • Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek were ineffective at best, and I can’t for the life of me understand why Foligno is on PP2? I just hope Lauko keeps improving while playing on that line. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a 4th line of Lauko – Jack Studnicka – Nosek. I’ll give Nosek a little more leeway due to his defensive ability, but that’s a short rope.
  • Besides Forbort and Lindholm, the D looked tentative and uncomfortable. It may come from being in roles they’re not used to or playing in different pairs? Heck, maybe it’s just rust, but I’d like to see the game a little crisper back there.

You know and I know that you want to see it. You’ve waited all summer for it, but here it is… the first goalie hug of the new season. If you missed it, Ked and I broke down the prospects for each of the NHL teams with the help of all the other bloggers. A new podcast is out now and you can listen here. Also we now have a phone in hotline and you can always hit us up on socials with comments. I’m on Twitter at Abrow28

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on October 13, 2022.

Author: Brownie

A legacy that was born on the frozen rivers in Northern Saskatchewan then later forged on the frozen ponds of New England. Playing all 200ft with the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet; always living by the credo handed down by generations of beer-league beauties that came before him. Skate Hard - Quick Changes - Win the Parking Lot.

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