Takeaways: Bruins remain undefeated following well-rounded effort in L.A.


Here’s what we learned as Boston continued its perfect start to the centennial season.

Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates with defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) after scoring during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) AP

In the second game of their West Coast swing, the Boston Bruins found themselves without Jake DeBrusk due to team-sanctioned discipline.

Nonetheless, they received contributions from their entire lineup and took down a top opponent in the Western Conference.

David Pastrnak continued his season-opening scoring streak, notching his fifth tally through four games. Last season’s 61-goal scorer ripped home a lethal snipe past Kings’ netminder Cam Talbot on the man advantage at 13:10 of the first period. 

The Kings battled back to even things up in the second period. Former Harvard standout Alex Laferriere ripped home his first NHL goal on a partial breakaway after sneaking past Brandon Carlo. 

The Bruins weathered Los Angeles’ second-period push. Then they went into takeoff mode in the second half of the middle frame.

After Trent Frederic’s energetic fight with Andreas Englund, the Bruins put two tallies behind Talbot in just 48 seconds. 

Morgan Geekie put home a rebound for his first goal as a Bruin, and Brad Marchand quickly followed up by burying a chance in the slot to pad Boston’s lead. 

The Bruins put forth a conservative defensive effort in the third period yet still cashed in some insurance in the waning minutes. Pastrnak connected with Marchand on a bang-bang passing play with 2:12 left in regulation.

“I really liked [our effort,]” Jim Montgomery told NESN’s Andy Brickley following Saturday’s 4-2 win. “We played with emotion, and we dug in in a lot of different ways. Whether it was physicality, whether it was skill, effort or execution, I like the way we dug in. We’re starting to see our identity come out.”

Here’s what we learned as Boston continued its perfect start to the centennial season.

The Bruins finally turned in a complete team effort

From the top down, the Bruins received contributions from all areas of their lineup. The power play delivered, the penalty kill remained perfect, and they received depth contributions.

“We had a mentality to play behind the net tonight and grind them down low,” Geekie told NESN’s Adam Pellerin. “We did a good job of that and getting out to the point. Our D got shots through and good things happened.”

The tangible results were clear for depth pieces like Geekie and Derek Forbort, and efforts like Frederic’s didn’t go overlooked.

Continuing his solid start to the season, the third-year winger provided the Bruins with a momentum shift at a pivotal juncture. Frederic took on Englund in a vicious tilt that left both sides bloodied after the fact. 

Frederic’s spark immediately ignited Boston’s bench as they potted two goals in quick succession that eventually propelled them past the Kings. 

“They’re a good team over there,” Geekie said to NESN’s Adam Pellerin. “We stepped up for sure and showed that we can play with anyone.”

Swayman and the penalty kill held down the fort

Just four games into the young season, the Bruins have relied heavily on their stellar goaltending tandem. Such a strategy has proved effective, though, as last season’s Jenning’s Trophy-winners have held form following last season’s dominant run. 

Swayman held down the fort for Boston during LA’s more dominant runs during the opening halves of the first and second periods. The 24-year-old netminder stopped 32 of 34 shots faced in his second start of the season. 

Boston’s penalty kill delivered yet another stellar outing on Saturday night, only breaking in the waning minutes with the game well in hand. The Black and Gold killed five of LA’s six-man advantages, with their toughest stretch coming on a 5-on-3 situation in the first amid the Kings’ relentless push for the game’s first tally.

“I like the way [Assistant] coach [Joe] Sacco gets them to really hone in on the details,” Montgomery said to Brickley. “We take away the most dangerous passing lanes and we let our goaltender see the strong side shot, which allows them to make saves. Our goaltenders have been great all year.”

From blocked shots to timely saves, the Bruins continue to impress in shorthanded situations. But Charlie Coyle also caught Swayman’s eye after the game for his slick puck possession work during another busy night on the penalty kill.

“[Coyle’s] the hardest worker on the team, you can’t steal the puck from him,” Swayman told reporters. “I love when he gets the puck because he’s got some of the best stick handling skills in this league and obviously separation from other bodies. He’s a work-horse and it shows. I’m so happy when he’s on the ice during a penalty kill.”

Before Carl Grundstrom’s late power play tally, the Bruins killed off the first 19 power plays.

Marchand leads the way

The captain did as the captain should do. 

Marchand was all over the ice Saturday night, figuring in on three of Boston’s four goals. Outside of his two goals, Marchand set up Pastrnak perfectly for the game’s opening goal. 

Boston’s captain put on a puck retrieval clinic, receiving the rimmed puck off the apron while shielding it from Kings’ forward Trevor Lewis. Marchand fed Pastrnak cross-ice, and the Czech sniper made no mistake. 

Marchand led the way for the Bruins in their detail-oriented victory as they delivered an early-season statement win. 

“Guys have jobs,” Geekie said to Pellerin. “They aren’t afraid to do the right thing all the time. … We’re gonna try and build that and bring it back tomorrow.”

Originally posted 2023-10-22 11:52:44.