Young talent carries Bruins over Predators in season opener, 4-3

Young talent carries Bruins over Predators in season opener, 4-3

BOSTON, Mass – The talk through all of Bruins training camp has been about the influx of youthful talent, and those players showed why on opening night. 

With Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and Torey Krug missing from the lineup with injuries and ailments, the Bruins got goals from 21-year-old David Pastrnak, 20-year-old Jake DeBrusk and 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy in a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators in an impressive win at TD Garden. It was the first NHL goals for both DeBrusk and McAvoy as their respective families were both in attendance to watch a little history go down for them. 

On the veteran side of things, David Krejci racked up three assists to lead the returning veterans in the lineup and looked fast, healthy and strong after focusing this summer on keeping pace with a league that’s getting faster every year. 

Above and beyond the individual scorers, the Bruins looked fast and aggressive in holding the Predators at bay aside from the one goal allowed in the waning seconds of the first period. On that one Pastrnak coughed up a puck in the D-zone after a face-off win from David Krejci, and Viktor Arvidsson ended up beating Tuukka Rask high from a juicy shooting position in the slot. 

Otherwise, Rask and the B’s defense was strong with the Finnish netminder stopping 26-of-29 shots he faced and the Bruins skaters keeping the ice tilted toward Nashville’s end for most of the night. Brad Marchand added the empty netter in the closing minutes to seal the victory for Boston, and Nashville added a couple of very late PP goals to keep the score close. 

Now the Bruins will be off for the weekend without a game until a Monday afternoon matinee against the Colorado Avalanche, and a chance that perhaps Bergeron and Krug could return to the lineup ahead of their first West Coast trip of the season.  

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

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Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.


Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

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Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.