The Bruins began the 2017-2018 season with a lot of questions.
What will Bruce Cassidy do with a full season? Is Zdeno Chara washed up? Can David Pastrnak improve over last season? Is the bottom six good enough?
The main question, however, was a fair one: what are all of these kids going to do?
If Thursday night’s home opener is any indication, they’re going to win some games and have a blast doing it.
Led by Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk, the Bruins started the new season off with a bang, jumping out to a 4-1 lead before desperately hanging on for a fun, fast-paced, 4-3 win.
“We don’t want to tone it down much,” said Bruce Cassidy on the frenetic pace. “It’s how we want to play. We want to skate...we don’t want to go into shells; we don’t want our forwards skating backwards a lot, we want our D up in the play.”
Missing David Backes and Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins relied on a mish-mash of forward groups with the “kids” sprinkled in.
Those kids acquitted themselves quite well, with DeBrusk and McAvoy each scoring the first NHL goal of their careers and Pastrnak (who isn’t really considered a kid anymore, despite being just five months older than DeBrusk) picking up where he left off by scoring the opening goal.
“Pretty surreal, to be honest,” said DeBrusk about his first goal. “It was one that I’ll never forget. [It’s} a little bit of a blur at the moment...was just trying to make a quick move, and it went in, and the crowd went pretty loud.”
DeBrusk’s goal broke a 1-1 tie in the second period, and his fellow rookie gave the Bruins a two-goal lead shortly thereafter.
While the rookies will rightfully get a lot of the press after the game, the Bruin veterans got plenty of praise from those kids for leading by example.
“The veterans make it so easy by communicating on the bench and on the ice too, and we try to just follow that,” said Anders Bjork. “They’re very open to that, which makes the transition very easy.”
Other notes from tonight’s game:
- Bjork, McAvoy and DeBrusk all recorded the first points of their career tonight. DeBrusk and McAvoy each had a goal and an assist, while Bjork had an assist.
- The Bruins didn’t make it easy on themselves: a 4-1 win turned into a “what the heck happened?” 4-3 win due to sloppiness and bad penalties. Expect a lot more of that this year. The rookies are going to add excitement, speed and skill, but they’re also going to make plenty of mistakes.
- If the Bruins get this version of David Krejci all season, look out. Krejci was a monster tonight, creating a number of high-danger scoring chances and playing responsible, three-zone hockey.
- The third line looks like it might remain a problem this season. The trio of Frank Vatrano, Matt Beleskey and Sean Kuraly was barely noticeable all night. Kuraly did OK, throwing the body a few times, but the other two...eh. It’s only one game, but I’m not sure where Vatrano fits on this team, to be honest.
- As many predicted, the refs didn’t call slashing or faceoff violations as tightly tonight, and I think we can all be thankful for that.
- There is a ton of construction going on around the Garden right now, with entrances moved and human traffic piling up. A few people reported long lines getting into the building around puck drop, so if you’re going to any upcoming games, give yourself some extra time.
- Noel Acciari’s injury means the Bruins are probably going to recall someone from Providence, unless Patrice Bergeron is ready on Monday.
The Bruins are back in action Monday afternoon vs. Colorado.