Bruins

Bruins roster projection 3.0: Looking at the B's season-opening roster

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Bruins roster projection 3.0: Looking at the B's season-opening roster

BOSTON — With the Bruins now done with their exhibition season, there isn’t anything left for anybody to do to impress the B’s coaching staff.

A bubble forward like David Backes has probably made the roster based on his strong performance that came to a crescendo with his final preseason appearance in the win over the Devils earlier this week. It’s clear that he put in the work during the summer, and that both he and power forward Brett Ritchie will probably be jostling for the same spot among the top-12 forwards on a nightly basis.

One forward who enjoyed a strong camp, but won’t be cracking the NHL roster to start the season in all likelihood?

It’s Anders Bjork, who did everything he probably needed to do in order to get things back on track after each of his last two seasons were wiped out by shoulder surgeries. Bjork was fast, he was aggressive, he looked stronger on the puck and more willing to engage in the danger areas, and he was able to create some offense as well.

Despite all of this, the 23-year-old Bjork is expected to start the season in Providence. On its face it would appear that Bjork didn’t make the cut, but it’s much more about the B’s being interested in seeing him build back up to a place where he’s really going to help the team in Boston. Consider the boost the Bruins could get from popping Bjork into their lineup later this season if he can regain the offensive mojo that he lost on the surgeon’s table in each of the last two seasons.

That’s what the Bruins are hoping for.

“He was drafted as a scoring winger. He hasn’t been able to do that consistently at the professional level, so we have to determine [whether] he is going to be able to do it here? Or is he better served in Providence, finding that part of his game? What’s going to be better for us in the long run? Do we need him here in the short term? That’s what we balance,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We proved last year we had a good lineup [and] added a center and a winger.

“We’ll have to make that determination, but my guess is [the AHL] is where he will probably end up starting, to work on that part of his game. He had a good training camp, good preseason and he’s healthy, bigger, stronger. So that’ll be just in my preliminary evaluation there, but we’ll sit down again and go over it.”

Otherwise, the only wrinkle for the Bruins lineup is moving things around on the fourth line because Joakim Nordstrom (foot) isn’t going to be ready to start the year on Thursday night in Dallas. It could be as easy as pushing Sean Kuraly over to left wing and essentially having two centers on the energy line with both Kuraly and Par Lindholm able to handle duties there to start off the year.

Otherwise, this should be the group that hits the ice on Oct. 3 provided that David Krejci (lower body) is able to play as the B’s currently think he’ll be able to after tweaking something in preseason action earlier this week:  

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Karson Kuhlman
Danton Heinen Charlie Coyle David Backes
Sean Kuraly Par Lindholm Chris Wagner

Scratches: Brett Ritchie

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Connor Clifton

Scratch: Steven Kampfer

GOALTENDERS

Tuukka Rask
Jaroslav Halak

Injured: John Moore, Kevan Miller, Joakim Nordstrom

How humbling experience sparked change for Backes>>>>>

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Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the B's 4-1 loss to the Avalanche

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Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the B's 4-1 loss to the Avalanche

Here are my talking points from the Bruins’ first regulation loss at home in 2019-20:

GOLD STAR: It isn’t going to happen very often, but Ian Cole turned out to be the single biggest contributor in a team-wide win for the Avalanche. It was Cole that smoked a slap shot past the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak to give Colorado a 2-1 lead in the second period, and he made certain his first goal of the season was an important one. Cole also blocked five shots in 17:17 of ice time and was part of a gritty, determined effort to protect the lead once the Avs got up 3-1 in the third. He mixed in a couple of hits and a couple of takeaways as well, and made some big plays in what was pretty much a perfect game overall for Colorado.

HIGHLIGHTS: Bruins take first home regulation loss vs. Avs, 4-1

BLACK EYE: There’s more than a few, but how about Danton Heinen just not making the plays that he needs to make when he’s in the lineup? Forget about the zero shots on net in 16:45 of ice time, with a number of them either getting blocked or missing the net. That’s nothing new when it comes to a player that’s barely averaging a shot on net for game. But he also turned the puck over behind the Boston net in a sequence that led to Cole’s game-winner as the Bruins began to run around in the defensive zone. It was that particular play that led Bruce Cassidy to lament that the attention to details was lacking for his players at this point in the season. If Heinen isn’t making the little plays, is a minus player and isn’t bringing any offense, then he isn’t worth having in the lineup.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins went into the first intermission tied at 1-1 after only putting four shots on net, and should have had the kind of wakeup call that they needed to turn the intensity up a little bit. Instead they went through a second period where they again only put up four shots on net while falling behind by two goals headed into the final 20 minutes. The Avalanche only leveled five shots on net as well, but they scored on a pair of them and pounced all over Boston’s mistakes while playing a surprisingly disciplined, two-way game despite their explosive offensive players. This time around, the Bruins didn’t have any way to come back in the third period against a quality Colorado team that wasn’t going to fold for them.

#HaggBag: Any worries about the B's? Let's hear 'em

HONORABLE MENTION: One of the few players to put up an honest-to-goodness effort in the loss was the hard-hitting fourth liner, Chris Wagner. It was Wagner that redirected a John Moore point shot in the first period for his third goal of the season that gave the Bruins an initial lead in the game. Wagner led the Bruins with five registered hits, scored on the only shot on net he had in the game and won 5-of-10 face-offs that he took in his 12:39 of ice time. The shame was that there weren’t enough other players that rose to the level of urgency and compete that Wagner was showing throughout the game for the Black and Gold.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 – The home point streak (12-0-5) is over for the Bruins as the Avs handed them their first regulation loss on home ice this year, and their first since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues almost six months ago.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “There’s just a lot of details that are working us against us now. We’ve just got to wake up and start playing to our abilities in those situations. And live with the result. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win, but I think we’re leaving plays on the table because our lack of urgency or understanding that teams are coming after us.” –Bruce Cassidy, lamenting the lack of urgency in the B’s game as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Avalanche.

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Highlights: Bruins can't seize momentum, fall 4-1 to Avs

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Highlights: Bruins can't seize momentum, fall 4-1 to Avs

FINAL SCORE: Avalanche 4, Bruins 1

IN BRIEF: The Bruins tied it early with a Chris Wagner tip-in off a John Moore shot from the point, but from there the Avs dictated play to hand Boston its first home loss in regulation at TD Garden in the 2019-20 season. It was a Pyrrhic victory for the Avs, though, who lost Calder Trophy favorite and former UMass star Cale Makar to injury.

BOX SCORE

BRUINS RECORD: 20-4-6 (46 points, 1st in Atlantic Division)

HIGHLIGHTS

WAGNER TIPS HOME MOORE’S SHOT FROM POINT

AVS LOSE MAKAR

UP NEXT:

At Ottawa, Monday, 7:30 p.m., NESN

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