Bruins

DeBrusk, McAvoy and Bjork all kick off B's careers with a bang

DeBrusk, McAvoy and Bjork all kick off B's careers with a bang

BOSTON, Mass – If the Bruins were trying to get all of the firsts out of the way in their season opener, they did a pretty good job of it in Thursday night’s win over the Predators. 

Both Jake DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy scored their first NHL goals in their very first regular season games, and Anders Bjork also notched his first career point in Boston’s 3-2 victory at the Garden. Even better both DeBrusk and McAvoy did it in front of their families, including former NHLer Louie DeBrusk wiping away tears in his eyes after watching his boy score in the game’s second period. Particularly for a player like the 20-year-old DeBrusk that wasn’t able to break through for a goal in the preseason, notching one on a nifty little 1-on-1 move at a meaningful moment is something he’ll always remember. 

“[It’s] pretty surreal to be honest. It was one that I’ll never forget, that’s for sure. 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. So I’ll never forget that feeling,” said DeBrusk. “[His dad] is known as a tough guy but I heard that there were some tears coming from him. So it’s a very emotional time, but I’ll be chirping him for a couple of years to come. That’s for sure.”

Those specific, individual moments were obviously special for those rookies, and created personal memories that will last a lifetime. But they also brought an enthusiastic energy to a Bruins team looking for any kind of motivation entering a new season, and eased the pressure each young player was feeling to contribute immediately. 

“I think [it means] a lot. I mean, even when they try to think, ‘yeah okay, I just want to have a good game.’ They still want to get the first one,” said David Pastrnak, who also scored in Thursday night’s opener and can still remember his first NHL goal in a Bruins uniform. “Once you get the first one, first point they can get the thought in their head, ‘I can play in this league.’ 

“You know, instead of game by game going [by] with no points and you start thinking more and more [about it]. I’m talking from my own experience, you know. So, it’s good. I’m really happy for the guys and [I’m glad] they scored.”

Now DeBrusk, McAvoy and Bjork should move into their next few NHL games with a different level of confidence, and the growing belief that they truly belong after getting off to a rousing good start on opening night. 

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.