By Sam Scanlon ’19
October is finally here and the quest for the Stanley Cup is officially underway.
The Boston Bruins finished last season with a 50-20-12 record, but the year was abruptly ended by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This season, the Bruins have added several new faces to complement their veteran core and boost their young talent. Chris Wagner, a Walpole, Massachusetts native, and Joakim Nordstrom are the Bruins’ new acquisitions up front, who will fill the fourth line role left by Tim Schaller. Wagner is an undersized powerhouse who thrives in physical situations, and he will fit the Bruins’ style of play perfectly.
The Bruins have also picked up two new defensemen to fill the void left by long-time Bruin Adam McQuaid’s departure. The most crucial acquisition was John Moore. Moore’s ability to skate with the puck was especially attractive to the Bruins. His role will be similar to that of Torey Krug, who will be out for the first three weeks of the season due to another ankle injury. Moore will play an extended role in the absence of Krug and McQuaid.
Tuukka Rask has been the Bruins’ franchise goaltender for just about a decade. The 31-year-old is quickly approaching 500 games played, and with that in mind, the Bruins have brought in Jaroslav Halak from the New York Islanders. Halak will serve as a backup goalie to Rask who can be comfortably relied on when Rask takes time off.
With the core of the team still in tact after last year, the Bruins are still in a great position to make yet another deep postseason run. Boston is home to one of the NHL’s deadliest offensive lines in Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand, who are capable to combining for well over 200 points this season. Veteran center David Krejci will begin the season playing in the middle of two sophomores, Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk. Along with Ryan Donato, Heinen and DeBrusk broke out in the second half of their rookie seasons and will look to continue production through the start of this season.
Charlie McAvoy is another Bruins young stud. His offensive prowess as a defenseman is a main reason why top forwards are able to produce. As he skates with the 6’9” captain Zdeno Chara, he is able to make plays for the Bruins offensively. He will play a large role on the power play during the first month while Krug rehabs his injury.
The Bruins looked to put all of their summer transactions and training to the test in their first game on Oct. 3 against the defending Stanley Cup Champions the Washington Capitals. It was also Opening Night for the Caps and the Cup holders were celebrating with their June victory one last time with their city by raising their very first Stanley Cup Champions banner. However, they were unable to take away from the celebratory night for the Caps—the momentum of the night was just not on their side.
Rask was put to the test right away and not even 25 seconds into the game, T.J. Oshie was able to snipe one past him. And from there, the flood gates opened wide for the Captials and while the Bruins did all that they could to stay afloat, it was just not enough.
They headed into the second period down 2-0 after Evgeny Kuznetsov snuck one in 1.23 minutes after Oshie. Not even five minutes into the second, Rask let three unanswered goals hit the back of the net within a span of just over three minutes. Alex Ovechkin, Nic Dowd, and Kuznetsov all rallied their team to a 5-0 lead not even halfway through the second period.
Head Coach Bruce Cassidy decided to take action then and yanked Rask from the net to give newcomer Halak a chance. However, not even he could stop the Caps, as John Carlson fired one right over his shoulder from the top of the face-off circle, making the score 6-0 Caps.
The third period consisted of a single goal scored by Lars Eller, giving the Caps a 7-0 win over Boston on Opening Night. However, despite the obvious defeat on the score board, Boston did not end the night totally defeated; they out hit the Caps 28-16 and dominated in the face-off circle 41-19.
Obviously the Bruins still have a lot of work to do in preparation for the season based off of their lack of defense and offense against the Caps and they will have to recover quickly for their Oct. 4 game against the Buffalo Sabres.