Anaheim Ducks

Ducks coach marvels at Bruins' ability to transform in recent years 

Ducks coach marvels at Bruins' ability to transform in recent years 

BOSTON — Sometimes the best perspective on something can be collected by going outside any given organization to get some thoughts.

Certainly the Bruins were critical of themselves even as they were beating the Ducks on Monday afternoon to get off to a 5-1-0 start to the season, and Bruce Cassidy went so far as to call the second period “exceptionally poor” for the Black and Gold while getting outshot 16-6. Still, we’re talking about a hockey team that’s won five of its first six games with four of those games coming on the West Coast to start the season, and also a team coming off a run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season.

For all the criticism and tough love that the Bruins get from within and from their own fan base still heartbroken from last June, it’s easy to forget there are at least 20-25 other NHL teams that would gladly switch places with them in a heartbeat.

That’s something Anaheim head coach Dallas Eakins reminded everybody about after watching David Pastrnak score four goals to take down his team Monday afternoon.

"I think there’s lots of lessons that we can all learn from this organization,” said Eakins. “The way they transitioned their organization maybe five years ago and where they’re at today, how fast they play. You can see why they were 60 minutes from a Stanley Cup ring. There are lots of lessons to be learned."

Clearly Eakins is impressed with the way the Bruins have gone from a big, slow juggernaut capable of beating down other teams to a fast, skilled group that dazzles while still paying attention to things like defense and goaltending, and team toughness. And there’s also the power play that scored eight seconds into its first possession in the first period, and has top PP unit members in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk that have been playing together for a while.

"The one [top] unit has been together for a while. The [guys on the power play] don’t even have to look up. They know where everybody is. They’ve been together. They’ve been dangerous for a while,” said Eakins. “The thing they do incredibly well is that you rarely see a guy stickhandle with the puck. That’s habit-based and it’s something obviously they’ve worked on and they believe in.”

It sure sounds like Eakins has been admiring the Boston Bruins, and an old adversary from the AHL coaching days in Bruce Cassidy, from afar before taking over the head coaching gig in Anaheim this season.

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-2 win over the Ducks

Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-2 win over the Ducks

Here are Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-2 win over the Ducks Monday afternoon to win their fifth game in six tries to open the 2019-20 season. 

GOLD STAR: Who else but David Pastrnak? Pastrnak scored four goals for the first time in his NHL career and joined a pretty elite Bruins club that also includes Patrice Bergeron, who did it a couple of seasons ago. Pastrnak now has six goals on the season after his four-score outburst on Monday afternoon, and is in the middle of a Bruins Perfection Line that is humming on all cylinders right now after needing a game or two to get going this season. The four-goal game and the six goals in six games once again raises the question of whether Pastrnak is ever going to be able to score 50 goals in a season, and it’s something he certainly has a chance at if he can remain healthy. In this game, Pastrnak scored in all kinds of different wants including a PP strike on a one-timer from the circle, a finished goal on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush and a redirection while paying the price in front of the net.

BLACK EYE: Troy Terry was a hotshot college hockey prospect when he came on the scene a couple of years ago after starring with Ryan Donato in the Olympics. But he’s off to a brutal start this season with zero points in six games, and had no shots on net with a minus-2 rating in 16:39 of ice time for the Ducks in Monday night’s loss. He certainly looks like his confidence is low right now for a Ducks team that’s scraping and scrimping for offense, and that was reflected in what we saw on the ice. Man, if the Ducks didn’t have Rickard Rakell they would be a seriously anemic offensive team. It will be part of the growing pains for Anaheim to see if guys like Terry are going to be a part of the long term solution, and it sure hasn’t looked that way in the early going this year.

TURNING POINT: For the Bruins, it was getting their second goal of the game in the second period after largely getting outplayed by the Ducks while getting outshot 16-6 and hanging onto a slim 1-0 lead. The Bruins killed off a couple of Ducks power plays and then they scored on a 2-on-1 with Brad Marchand feeding David Pastrnak just as an Anaheim power play had ended. The goal gave the Bruins a little bit of breathing room and set them up for a third period where a couple more Pastrnak goals allowed them to pull away in the game.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jaroslav Halak and the Bruins goaltending continues to be a big story of success for the Bruins. Halak wasn’t perfect as he allowed two goals during the game, but he was pretty darn close in the second period when he stopped 15-of-16 shots as the Ducks clearly outplayed the Bruins in the middle 20 minutes. Halak stopped a couple of odd-man, 3-on-1 rushes during that period of time and allowed the Bruins to get their stuff back in order, which they did when they scored to make it a 2-1 game late in the second period. Both Halak and Rask have been among the league’s best goalies to start the season for the Bruins and it’s making a major difference for them.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the number of goals for David Pastrnak, which also gives the Bruins Perfection Line 11 of the last 14 goals scored by the B’s overall in their last five games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “What’s on the forefront of my mind is more the other guys, what could we do to help them get going? And what can they do themselves to help themselves? So that, as a coach, is what I’m thinking about. I’m happy [the top line] is on, they’re going, the power play units found their mojo again, so that’s good. But my mind’s more on the other group. How can we help them out? We’ll keep looking at it.” –Bruce Cassidy, on the top-heavy nature of the Bruins offense right now relying on their top guys and top PP unit to score.

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Kampfer in, Clifton out vs. Ducks in matinee game for B's

Kampfer in, Clifton out vs. Ducks in matinee game for B's

BOSTON – The Bruins are winning hockey games, so they’re not going to shake things up too much. But they don’t want too many of their roster players gathering rust either.

With that in mind, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is tweaking the regular lineup just a bit by inserting reserve defenseman Steve Kampfer in for Monday afternoon’s matinee against the Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden. Young D-man Connor Clifton will come out to make room for Kampfer, but Cassidy indicated that wasn’t any reflection Clifton’s play or any injury of any kind. Instead it as about getting Kampfer into the flow after sitting out the first five games of the season.

“He’s been working hard. We’ll get him in a game and see how it goes,” said Cassidy of Kampfer. “Cliffy’s played well, but [it’s a] message that nothing is guaranteed.”

Kampfer had three goals and six points in 35 games last season while serving the entire year as the seventh D-man for Boston. The 24-year-old Clifton has zero points and a plus-2 in five games while averaging 15:31 of largely uneventful ice time after showing a little more aggressiveness in the playmaking department during the preseason.

Other than switching Kampfer for Clifton, a start for backup goalie Jaroslav Halak this afternoon as Cassidy continues to alternate goaltenders with each game thus far this season. Here are the line combos and D-pairings vs. the Ducks based on Monday’s pregame warm-up at TD Garden:
 

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Kuhlman

Heinen-Coyle-Ritchie

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Kampfer

 

Halak

Bruins third line still looking for chemistry, offense in early going>>>

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