Pregame Notes: Bruins vs. Flyers – 10/20/21

(Photo credit: Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Zach Carlone | Follow me on Twitter: @zcarlone21

The NHL’s regular season has been well underway for just over a week now and the Bruins will hit the ice for just their second game of the season. Last Saturday, the Bruins opened the season with a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars at TD Garden. Bruins forward Jake Debrusk scored what proved to be the game-winning goal early in the third period, and goaltender Jeremy Swayman made 27 saves on 28 shots. The Bruins will look to stay undefeated tonight in a contest against the Philadelphia Flyers, who are 1-0-1. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST.

Sway Stays

The Bruins signed former Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark to a four-year contract this past offseason, but he was outperformed by Swayman in the preseason and continues to serve as the backup goaltender. Swayman had a terrific preseason, unlike Ullmark, and has earned the start for the second straight game. Ullmark will start in goal against his former team on Friday night, but for now Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is making a great decision by rolling with the hot glove.

Swayman played solid on Saturday night and the only goal he surrendered wasn’t much of his fault at all. Stars forward Luke Glendening was left all alone in the slot and had the time to pick his spot in the net for a nice shot. The Bruins shouldn’t put Swayman in that position again and it was the difference for Swayman to not earn a shutout in his first start of the season. The Flyers offense has the talent and speed to catch the Bruins on their toes, so defensive reliability for Swayman is a must-have in tonight’s game.

Jake is Baking

Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk had a season to forget last year, notching just five goals and 14 points by season’s end. Cassidy noted multiple times throughout the season and during the offseason that he needs DeBrusk to be better. DeBrusk caught COVID-19 last season and never found his groove to be an electric bottom-six goal-scorer. Instead, he was just another stalemate and even spent some time in the press box serving as a healthy scratch for a few games last season.

Flip the calendar to the 2021-22 season and the 24-year-old looked like a player out to prove something on Saturday night. He potted the game-winning goal and got a taste of action with two new Bruins forwards, Nick Foligno and Erik Haula, both of whom signed in the offseason. What we saw in Saturday’s win from them three gave the Bruins energy throughout the 60-minute game and they are set to play together on the third line again tonight. If DeBrusk continues playing well, we could see Foligno or Haula pot their first goal in a black and gold sweater shortly.

Second Line Buzz

The Bruins only collected three goals on Saturday, but it was enough to earn the win. DeBrusk scored one and Bruins forward Brad Marchand collected the other two, one going in on an empty net. The Bruins’ second line, consisting of forwards Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle, and Craig Smith, had some brilliant shifts in the game and generated a ton of offense, yet they couldn’t manage to add any tally on the scoreboard. The Bruins had 40 shots in their last game and each member of the second line ripped two shots on goal each.

The time will come for Taylor Hall to collect his first goal of the season, which could be during tonight’s game. The former Hart Trophy winner has a lot of flare to his game and has brought nothing but determination and effort to the Bruins since his arrival last season. His play style could elevate Coyle’s overall production and give Smith even more consistency as well. Hall and Smith formed valuable chemistry with former Bruins center David Krejci last season and are starting to create something special with Coyle early on.

Bruins Projected Lines

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Hall – Coyle – Smith

DeBrusk – Haula – Foligno

Frederic – Nosek – Kuhlman

Forbort – McAvoy

Reilly – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Swayman

Ullmark

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