Talking Points: Big night for the young Bruins
Jake DeBrusk gets it after scoring his first NHL and making his dad, former NHLer Louie DeBrusk, cry with tears of pride. DeBrusk wasn’t able to finish off any plays during the preseason, but he did exactly that on opening night when he sped behind the Nashville defense and deked out Pekka Rinne before lifting the puck over him. DeBrusk had a number of high-quality chances, led the Bruins with four shots on net and finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 rating in 14:05 of energetic ice time. DeBrusk played with the kind of speed and tenacity he’s going to need to have success with Krejci, and looked like a much more comfortable player than the guy battling for a roster spot in training camp. If he continues playing the way that did on opening night, DeBrusk is going to be a very good addition to the Bruins this season.
Kevin Fiala was basically a black hole for the Nashville Predators on a night when they had a few too many passengers. He finished a minus-2 in the 4-3 loss, had zero shots on net and zero hits, gave a puck away, lost a face-off and basically did nothing assist from blocking one shot in 14:28 of ice time. Fiala wasn’t the only Nashville player that didn’t bring his ‘A’ game in the season opener, but he didn’t bring his ‘B’ game, ‘C’ game, ‘D’ game or ‘E’ game either. He was the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, but I didn’t see much to make me think he’s going to be a force for the Preds.
The Bruins gave up a goal with 11 seconds remaining in the first period to tie up the game after they’d controlled most of the opening 20 minutes, so it could have been a dicey middle period with a young hockey club. Instead, the Bruins outshot the Predators by a 12-8 margin and scored a pair of goals to extend their lead, and showed a good ability to bounce back from a little adversity early in the season. That lack of focus crept back into their game toward the end of the third period when Nashville pushed to make it a one-goal game, but the Bruins deserve full marks to stick with it and finish the job.
It was a night for a lot of the young players, but David Krejci really stood up and was excellent among the veteran group of Bruins players. Krejci stepped up with Patrice Bergeron and David Backes on the sidelines, and finished with three assists in 21:29 of ice time that was second to only Brad Marchand among their forwards. Krejci was strong on the puck, worked well with Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk once he began centering those two youngsters in the second period and he won 17-of-22 face-offs in a dynamite all-around performance. There really wasn’t much to dislike about Krejci’s game, and it showed that he might just be ready to author a throwback season now that he’s feeling fully healthy and energized. If Krejci can play like that on most nights this season then the B’s are in really, really good shape.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 – the first career NHL goals for Jake DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy, and the first career NHL point for Anders Bjork all on the same magical night for the Black and Gold.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“We know there will be challenges along the way but it’s the culture we’re trying to create. So, if we continue to work on our fitness and practice habits and get it in our heads that’s the way we want to play – we want to be relentless, not reckless, for 60 minutes. We’ll keep pushing that.” – Bruce Cassidy, talking about the fast pace he wants the Bruins to play with this season as evidenced by an entertaining opening night win.