By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97
It’s a good time to be a Bruins fan. The hometown team is 5-1-0 in their first six games of the 2019-20 campaign and look every bit the squad that came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup last season. The B’s began the season 3-0-0, their best start in nearly 20 years back when Joe Thornton was in black and gold. The team has earned 10 of a possible 12 points to open the season and lot of it is due to the superb goaltending combination of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. The B’s first line has picked up where it left off last season with all three players off to great starts including David Pastrnak who scored four times on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks. There have been a few interesting developments in the first few games of the season and below I’ll take a look at six storylines I’ve noticed in the B’s first six games.
Goaltending Has Been Phenomenal
As I previously mentioned, the Bruins goaltending has been the main reason the team is off to their best start in years. Rask and Halak have each started three games and have looked very strong and look every bit the part of the elite tandem they were a season ago. Rask has started the season especially strong after having his fair share of issues in the early parts of the last few years. He’s 3-0-0 with a sparkling .957 save percentage and a minuscule 1.33 goals against average. Halak, meanwhile has been just as good and has already made a seasons worth of spectacular saves especially in his first start of the year against the Arizona Coyotes, a 1-0 shutout victory. It’s very clear that yet again the B’s have another elite goaltending tandem that is showing no signs of slowing down.
Pastrnak Scoring In Bunches
As evidenced by his four goal outburst the other day, David Pastrnak is an elite goal scorer. At 23, Pastrnak seems to top himself every season and perhaps his next feat is 50 goals in a season. Despite not scoring in his first two games of the season, Pasta has found the net six times in his past four contests and is now tied for second in the entire league in goals scored. The great thing about Pastrnak‘s game is it seems to get better and better by the season and there’s no reason to expect anything less in 2019-20.
Second Period Woes
Unfortunately it’s not been all positive for the B’s to open the year as a familiar monster has reared its ugly head. A common theme for the team in the early going of the season has been second period struggles as the Bruins seem to lose momentum and not play with the same intensity. For whatever reason it’s been a common issue for the team under Bruce Cassidy which certainly isn’t a knock on the coach but it’s something that happens pretty consistently. One could argue the B’s are still in search of their first win playing a full 60 minutes.
Kuhlman Doesn’t Look Out Of Place
I’ll preface this by saying Karson Kuhlman is not the ideal fit on the Boston second line. However, I do believe he’s the best they can do at this point in time. Kuhlman’s energy is pretty clear watching the first few Bruins games of the season, the guy is always hunting the puck and making plays utilizing his straight line speed. Because of that speed, he’s gotten numerous scoring chances and unfortunately hasn’t found the back of the net yet but the ability is clearly there. The B’s second line has been off to a bit of a slow start but Kuhlman is certainly not the reason why.
Karson Kuhlman makes something out of nothing in a hurry.
His speed has been very evident through three games. pic.twitter.com/49r6CQUfIq
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 9, 2019
Krug Limiting Turnovers
I’ll probably get serious heat for this but I’ve noticed Torey Krug has been pretty good in his own end in the early part of the season. Now certainly he’s not perfect and has made some mistakes but often he’s in the right place at the right time. The Bruins entire defense group do a great job denying scoring chances with their sticks and this is an area Krug has greatly improved in. He may never be an elite defensive defenseman but Krug does do a lot of things especially in his own zone that often go unnoticed.
Scoring Depth Needed
Perhaps the B’s biggest strength can also be categorized as a weakness in a way. With how dominant the first line is, it often masks issues the team has in getting consistent scoring from other players. It’s pretty clear that this may be the case this season if this continues. The Bruins are counting on the likes of Jake DeBrusk, Kuhlman and Danton Heinen to provide consistent goal scoring especially five on five. It’s a great thing that the first line is so dominant but it remains to be seen whether the team can get goal scoring from other places.