At first look, one would assume that the Bruins are in good stead to maintain its place on the high of the highest of the league in holding pucks out of its web.
They are returning in web Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, who mixed to win the Jennings Trophy, and their protection corps is generally intact. They misplaced Dmitry Orlov to free company, which was not surprising but nonetheless important. But the B’s have been already nicely on their strategy to establishing a league-best targets towards common (2.12) earlier than Orlov arrived right here from Washington in a deadline deal.
From the online out, the B’s are sturdy.
But coach Jim Montgomery expects his D corps to hold a heavier burden this 12 months. The crew has misplaced three of their 4 centermen from final 12 months – Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci to retirement, Tomas Nosek to free company – and the facilities play a key position within the B’s defensive system. Only Charlie Coyle stays from final 12 months’s crop facilities whereas Pavel Zacha strikes to the center on a full-time foundation.
Newcomer Morgan Geekie is anticipated to heart a 3rd line whereas there’s a wide-open competitors for fourth line heart with veterans Jesper Boqvist and Patrick Brown in addition to younger hopefuls John Beecher and Marc McLaughlin vying for the position.
Montgomery might be leaning on his D to maintain the targets towards down.
“Who our goalies are and with our D corps, we’re clearly in the top of the league in those departments,” stated Montgomery on the membership’s golf match on Thursday. “It’s probably going to rely on our D corps in terms of how we play and our identity of them having more of an impact in all 200 feet of the ice, not only scoring. We had four centers last year who all knew how we played our D zone, right? So we killed a lot of plays because of them. We might need (the D) to kill a lot more plays in the offensive zone or in the neutral zone with their skating ability and hockey sense and competitive level, so we don’t end up in our D zone. Because we don’t have those same layers coming back. Those are things that we think we can ask our D corps to do and would probably want to do.”
While the defensemen could also be extra taxed this 12 months, Montgomery reiterated his confidence in Zacha and Coyle to deal with high six minutes.
“They both can handle a lot of minutes. Both of them are coming in believing who they are and how they need to play, regardless of who they’re playing with,” stated Montgomery. “We’re comfortable, especially after seeing them in big games in Games 3 and 4 (against Florida last spring), playing 19-20 minutes and playing as well as they did. I’m hoping they don’t have to play 20 minutes a night, but I know they can handle that and they can handle all three zones of work.”
With regard to the protection, Hampus Lindholm for one understands the scenario – and he’s relishing the possibility to develop his sport with the larger ask.
“(Losing) Bergy and Krech (is tough), especially Krech. I think was underrated how good he was defensively coming back and helping out. That’s two really good players,” stated Lindholm. “But this organization always finds ways and it’s opportunities for others guys to step up. And for the D corps here, I think it’s a big opportunity to step up and show that we have even more, too, even without Bergy and Krech.”
Lucic an enormous hit
While Milan Lucic – whose offensive manufacturing has waned although his pugilistic expertise haven’t – provides a distinct aspect to the fourth line, Montgomery nonetheless expects the identification of the road to be comparable.
“I think (David Pastrnak) won’t get hit as much and (Brad Marchand) won’t get hit as much, because Looch is in the lineup,” stated Montgomery. “But I’m still going to want Looch to be a person that decides momentum in the games with his line going out there after a goal is scored against or for, carrying the momentum, recognizing when we’re losing momentum, going out and making a big hit or getting to the net, crashing the net. Very similar things that (Nick) Foligno did for us, but probably because of his history here carrying more weight within that role and how he impacts things, especially at home.”
Young stars shine
At the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, Luke Toporowski and Brett Harrison every scored a pair of targets to carry the Bruins’ hopefuls to a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After squandering a 2-0 lead, the B’s bought the eventual game-winner on a reasonably play that led to Toprowsi’s second tally late within the second interval. Fabian Lysell gained the offensive zone, drawing two defenders to him earlier than sending a pleasant backhand feed to Georgii Merkulov in open ice. Merkulov fed Toporowski for the one-time blast. Harrison’s one-time rocket on a third-period energy play offered the insurance coverage.
Matthew Poitras, the B’s high heart prospect, picked up a helper on Harrison’s first objective and appeared very snug.