GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron scored the first goal of the game on the first shift of the game, and didn’t let up until he’d finished with the first Bruins hat trick on opening night since Cam Neely did it during his Hall of Fame career. Bergeron finished with three goals and four points along with a plus-3 rating, and also pulled off one of the all-time elite passes when he flipped a backhanded saucer pass to David Pastrnak crashing to the net for a third period strike. For good measure Bergeron finished with four shots on net, six shot attempts and won 14-of-24 face-offs while playing his typically brilliant game at both ends of the ice. Bergeron’s performance in the last two games really calls into question just how necessary it’s going to be for him to take part in preseasons for the rest of his career given the results thus far this season.
BLACK EYE: Danton Heinen just doesn’t look like the same player that he did at the beginning of last season. Perhaps it’s circumstance or trying to live up to last season, but Heinen once again went without a shot on net vs. Ottawa and now has just one shot on net in his first three games this season. In that span Heinen has dropped from David Krejci’s line to the third line, and his minutes were down to 12:37 in the Monday afternoon matinee. It’s still early yet and it’s only been a couple of games, obviously, but Heinen is one of those talented Bruins sophomores that they were counting on to take another leap forward this season. So far it looks like Heinen is taking a step back and is absolutely searching for his game with no luck thus far. The Bruins are obviously going to stick with him, but so far Anders Bjork has been the better of the two wingers between them.
TURNING POINT: It could have been a different game after Tuukka Rask allowed a soft goal in the middle of the second period to make it a 3-2 game headed into the final 20 minutes. Rask was partially screened by Zdeno Chara, but he also made no play whatsoever on a 30-foot shot from inside the blue line by Ottawa forward Ryan Dzingel. Against a better team that kind of goal could have been a killer, but instead the Bruins scored the first two goals of the third period and really took control of the game from that point forward. The Bruins perhaps caught a break in getting Buffalo and Ottawa right after getting their clocks cleaned by the Capitals, but they’ve also taken good advantage of the break that they were given.
HONORABLE MENTION: Just as impressive as Patrice Bergeron’s performance was that of David Pastrnak, who continues to take another step toward becoming a complete player at the NHL level. It was his back-checking and two-way play that helped spark the Bruins in Buffalo last week, and on Monday it was Pastrnak crashing to the front of the net and getting to the difficult areas of the ice to create offense. Pastrnak finished with two goals, four points and a plus-4 rating, and fired off a team-high six shots on net in 16:24 of ice time. He also showed elite level skill in his ability to connect on a Bergeron back-handed saucer pass in the third period that put the finishing touches on the victory for the Bruins.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 – the number of assists for Charlie McAvoy in the opening night win, which marks a career-high in assists and points in a game for the second year D-man.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I agree with that chant. I’m all for it.” –Bruce Cassidy talking about the “Yankees Suck!” chant that kicked into overdrive during the third period of Boston’s 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.