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The Mass Media

Bruins proving doubters wrong with early-season hot streak

Brad+Marchand+of+the+Boston+Bruins+during+pre-game+warm-ups+before+a+game+against+the+New+Jersey+Devils+on+March+29%2C+2016.
Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins during pre-game warm-ups before a game against the New Jersey Devils on March 29, 2016. Photo and caption sourced from Lisa Gansky via Wikimedia Commons.

Heading into the 2022-23 NHL season, a certain writer for this paper expressed his doubts that the Boston Bruins would be able to remain in the mix of Stanley Cup contenders, (1) given the team’s aging roster, multiple key players injured and a new coach. Boy, how wrong that writer turned out to be. The Bruins have shot out of the gate this season like a cannonball, going 9–1–0 as of this writing. (2)
In the offseason, nobody, possibly not even the team themselves, knew what to make of the black and gold. After being bounced by Carolina in the first round of the playoffs, (3) they fired head coach Bruce Cassidy (4) and brought in former Dallas assistant Jim Montgomery. (5) The team was going to be short-handed early in the season, as star winger Brad Marchand, along with top-pairing defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk, all needed surgery. (6)
However, if the Bruins were, in fact, due for a slow start because of their aforementioned maladies, the players must not have gotten the message. They started the year off by ripping off three wins in a row, before losing in Ottawa on the second night of a back-to-back. (7) Undeterred, they then put together a new winning streak of seven in a row, including an insane three goal comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 1. They have accomplished this hot streak with contributions from all over the roster.
The Bruins, as usual, are led offensively by David Pastrnak, (8) the superstar 26-year-old winger from the Czech Republic. Through 10 games, Pastrnak has seven goals, tied for seventh in the league; 11 assists, tied for third; and has a +/- rating of four. Pastrnak is backed up by his veteran linemate, captain Patrice Bergeron, (9) who has four goals, 10 points and is a plus-eight through 10 games.
Depth scoring has been a huge issue for the B’s the last few seasons, but they have gotten plenty of it so far. Jake DeBrusk, criticized by many for his inconsistent play and alleged friction with Cassidy, has thrived under Montgomery, with three goals, eight points and a plus-six rating through nine games. (10) Taylor Hall is playing like the MVP and number one overall pick he once was, scoring five goals in 10 games. (11)
The Bruins knew they would need guys to step up on defense this season, and so far, they have gotten it. Hampus Lindholm, (12) acquired from Anaheim at the trade deadline last season, has stepped up in the absence of McAvoy, with three goals, eight assists and a plus-nine rating through 10 games, all ranking among the league leaders for defensemen.
Good luck, like bad luck, can be contagious. Marchand was believed to be out until at least Thanksgiving, but, as hockey players tend to do, he put his ability to get on the ice ahead of his long-term health and decided to get a double hip arthroscopy to return early, (13) which would occur on Oct. 26 against Detroit. And the fiery winger instantaneously made an impact, scoring two goals and assisting on another. (14)
Grzelcyk was also supposed to be sidelined for the early part of the year, but he made his return on Oct. 20 against the Ducks.  The Charlestown native has continued to shine for his hometown team, with one goal, four points and a plus-four rating in six games. (15) With McAvoy likely back at some point in the next few weeks, the sky’s the limit for this team, and the quest for the Stanley Cup may not be a pipe dream after all. (16)

  1. http://www.umassmedia.com/sports/how-will-the-bruins-fare-this-season/article_99579198-4655-11ed-b523-b3bc856518e4.html

  2. https://www.espn.com/nhl/team/schedule/_/name/bos/boston-bruins

  3. https://www.nhl.com/news/why-boston-eliminated-from-stanley-cup-playoffs/c-334098982#:~:text=The%20Boston%20Bruins%20were%20eliminated,the%20playoffs%20from%20the%20East.

  4. https://www.nhl.com/news/boston-bruins-fire-coach-bruce-cassidy/c-334507774

  5. https://www.nhl.com/news/jim-montgomery-hired-as-boston-bruins-coach/c-334794402#:~:text=Jim%20Montgomery%20was%20hired%20as,June%207%20after%20six%20seasons.

  6. https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/bruins/bruins-injuries-when-brad-marchand-charlie-mcavoy-matt-grzelcyk-should-return

  7. https://www.espn.com/nhl/game/_/gameId/401458643

  8. https://www.espn.com/nhl/player/_/id/3114778/david-pastrnak

  9. https://www.espn.com/nhl/player/_/id/2280/patrice

  10. https://www.espn.com/nhl/player/_/id/3900240/jake-debrusk

  11. https://www.espn.com/nhl/player/_/id/5428/taylor-hall

  12. https://www.espn.com/nhl/player/_/id/2968818/hampus-lindholm

  13. https://www.espn.com.au/nhl/story/_/id/34920092/how-boston-bruins-brad-marchand-returned-injury-early

  14. https://nesn.com/2022/10/bruins-win-over-red-wings-ford-final-five/

  15. https://www.espn.com/nhl/player/_/id/3069448/matt-grzelcyk

  16. https://clutchpoints.com/bruins-news-charlie-mcavoy-taking-key-steps-in-injury-return-for-boston/

About the Contributor
Jack Sherman, Sports Writer