B’s Beat: 5 Thoughts From The Bruins’ First 5 Games
The Boston Bruins are five games into the regular season and the results have been pretty good with all things considered. They haven’t looked as sluggish as I thought they would given their short offseason (the team that loses the Cup still has a cup hangover believe it or not), and they have been in every game so far competitively. Sure their two loses are bummers, but they came at the hands of two teams playing very well. The Colorado Avalanche have been practically unbeatable in the early going, and the Detroit Red Wings are always a tough game for anyone. Here are five of my thoughts on the team after the first five games.
Milan Lucic has been excellent: The title of this thought says it all. Milan Lucic has been the Bruins best forward to start the season. Looch leads the team in goals with 3, hits with 13, and points with 5. He has also added 12 penalty minutes through the first five games which is good for second on the team. It is nice to see the still young power forward continue his excellent play from the playoffs last season. Much was made about Lucic’s 3 year $18 million extension he signed last season. The extension, which started this season, will pay the big winger an average of $6 million per year. I must admit that I was unsure of whether or not he was worth that much when the deal happened, but Looch is proving this season and in the playoffs last season that GM Peter Chiarelli made the right call in awarding the Bruins’ first line winger the extension. It can be argued that when he is on his game, no player can effect the game like Milan Lucic does. We have seen some great stuff from him early on. Hopefully he keeps it up.
Torey Krug belongs in the NHL: I was totally enamored by this kid when he burst on to the scene in the playoffs last year, but I have also watched this game for a long time and seen more than a few flash in the pans. I was nervous about Krug entering the preseason. I knew he would make the team, but whether or not he would stick with the big club was another question entirely. I am not above saying that I am wrong about a player as I famously (around my inner circle I should say) said that Brad Marchand would never amount to anything. The amount of poise, determination, and heart Krug plays with is admirable. A player of his stature has a rougher go of it in the NHL than just about any other player, but he faces the competition head on. Torey Krug has one goal and an assist so far this season, with a +1. The power play has been streaky so far, but once it gets going his numbers are going to jump big time. I still can’t get over how hard he can fire the puck.
Jarome Iginla is snake bit: There is probably no one more excited Jarome Iginla is finally a Bruin than me, and I actually wrote the article saying he got traded here, only to find it out he went to Pittsburgh instead, thus leaving me to erase my last hour of work. I’m over it though, as Iggy has finally made the right decision and come to a team that can properly utilize his skill set to its utmost. Unfortunately, despite leading the team in shots with 19, Iginla has yet to find the back of the net. Now there are plenty of reasons as to why this has happened. For starters; he is playing on his third team in two seasons and still adjusting to the system. Another cause is the excellent goaltending the team has faced thus far in reigning Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky, and two monstrous performances from Jean-Sebastian Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson respectively. The most prominent reason is that he is simply snake bit, it happens to the best of them. Iginla will get some goals soon, and once he breaks through, they are going to come in bunches.
Tuukka Rask is going to win the Vezina this year: That’s right, I said it! In all seriousness though, the Bruins’ goaltender has allowed just 7 goals in the team’s first five games. Those numbers are good for a 3-2-0 record with a 1.42 goals against average and a .951 save percentage. Rask is coming into the first season of his 8 year $56 million contract he signed in the offseason, and so far he has been worth every single penny. It is exciting to think about how well the Bruins will play once they hit their stride, because Tuukka is going to be the one reaping all the benefits. The defense in front of him has also bee a question mark given the constant state of flux the bottom two pairings are in as Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, and Torey Krug are constantly shifted in and out of the lineup. Rask has arguably been the best Bruin on the team so far, other than Lucic, and it appears as if he is in store for another elite year. If he is not at least a Vezina finalist this season, I will eat my hat.
The Third Line has it’s game back: I’m not going to dive into how much of an issue the Bruins’ third line was for the team last season, because it has been beaten to death. Instead, I am going to talk about how the line has really come together this season with new addition Reilly Smith, and a surprisingly good start from Jordan Caron. Smith came over as part of the Seguin/Eriksson deal and has arguably been the best part of the deal so far. His three assists and solid two way play even earned him some time with Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson on the team’s second line. Caron has played far beyond what I thought he could and has finally begun to use his size to get open and make plays on the fore check. The biggest part of the third line’s success so far this season is veteran Chris Kelly. Kelly has two goals so far this season, both of which were big, and has been dominant in both the faceoff dot and the penalty kill. He and Smith compliment each other really well too. I’m glad the Bruins decided to hold on to Kelly, because he brings a great al around game and leadership, on and off the ice.
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