(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer | Getty Images)

By: Benjamin Aliber | Follow me on Twitter @bpaliber24

The Boston Bruins are off to a red-hot start in the beginning stages of the 2022-23 National Hockey League season. After five games, the B’s have a record of 4-1 and lead the entire Eastern Conference with eight points. For a team predicted to struggle to find their identity due to the fact they are without franchise players Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy until December because of off-season procedures, this team is silencing the critics.

Boston sits atop the league with 22 goals for, with the Los Angeles Kings second in the league with 20. Before their game against the Anaheim Ducks, Boston led the league in Goals For/Per Game with a 5.25 average. 24 hours later, they sit third only behind Pittsburgh and St.Louis with a 4.40 GF/PG.

In terms of their penalty kill, it’s been amazing! Boston is second in the league with a 94.1% effectiveness, only behind the St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, and San Jose Sharks, who are tied for first.

As a team, they have been great, but individually no one saw them performing in the manner they are at this very moment. 12 different goal scorers so far, with each player finding the back of the net having played at least four games. Not just that, seven of the 12 have found the back of the net multiple times.

Currently, A.J. Greer, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron each lead the team with three goals a piece. So with the team performing at the level, they are now, what should we expect going into Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild?

In complete honesty, I would expect a win. Boston has been a perfect 3-0 at home this season, and a solid goalie number one in Linus Ullmark, who is yet to lose a game. While Boston is 12-15-1 All-Time against Minnesota, they, year after year, continue to have one of the best home records in the NHL. At home, this season, Boston has also allowed only seven goals, for a 2.33 Goals Against/Per Game, while scoring a 4.33 Goals For/Per Game.

What needs to happen, though, for Boston to win is to pepper them with shots. They (Minnesota) are currently giving up just over 33 shots per game while allowing just under six goals per game. The Wild have also had an abysmal Penalty Kill which can work in favor of Boston, who has been very lackluster while on the man advantage.

My thoughts on how Boston can be successful in this upcoming game? Be smart on defense, simple as that. Boston has been giving away too many chances on the back end. We saw it in their previous game vs. the Ducks when in OT, Anaheim had a 3-0 against Ullmark, who (literally) saved the game!

If the Bruins go with Swayman over Ullmark to start this game, net protection will be the difference in a win vs. a loss. Swayman’s numbers regarding shots from “Gretzky’s Office” are rather disappointing. It’s still very early, but it has been a cause for concern.

If Boston can hang on to their early division and conference leads by continuing to produce and come away with wins at the current rate they have been the last two weeks, I have no fear about what this team can accomplish going forward.

Puck drop at 1pm from TD Garden.