(Photo Credit: Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

By Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter @adbblue

The Boston Bruins are 2-0 through their first two games of the season, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 and Nashville Predators 3-2. Obviously, it’s difficult to take anything out of any team’s first couple of games, but the Bruins have shown something that could be a big part of their recipe for winning this season.

Special teams have proven to be a large strength of this team out of the gate. The power play has generated plenty of good looks and cashed in twice in the second game against Nashville on Saturday night. But It’s the penalty kill that has stood out the most.

Penalty Kill

The Bruins organization has always taken pride in having a shutdown penalty kill, and the emphasis put on that has certainly been front and center again thus far. Through the first two matchups, Boston has taken 11 penalties and has killed them all. The only blemish was a goal they allowed against Nashville on a delayed penalty, but they did kill off all seven of the other penalties taken. Over the last ten seasons, the Bruins have finished eight times as a top-ten penalty-killing team. 

What makes their penalty kill so effective is they do an outstanding job of keeping the opposing team’s possession to the perimeter of the attacking zone. This limits the ability to find open passing lanes and forces shots from areas that are easy for the goaltender to track the puck. Even with the last ten seasons being under three different head coaches, the systems are all very similar. 

Power Play

With Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retiring, the power play lost two of their most influential players. Bergeron, in particular, had a very important role on the man advantage as the bumper position, and to say he was good there would be an understatement. We’ve seen a bit of a different scheme so far, with a lot of lateral puck movement. They set up in the umbrella and work the puck in down low from the top. Pavel Zacha has moved into the bumper a few times, but it seems to have been phased out for the most part.

Perhaps the biggest difference maker on the power play has been the acquisition of James Van Riemsdyk. The 6’3 34-year-old forward has been a huge net-front presence and already has two goals on the man advantage, which both he scored against Nashville. That already matched his season total of power-play goals last year with the Philadelphia Flyers. Furthermore, the puck movement has looked strong, and the team still has plenty of time to build on their continuity going forward. 

The Bruins have been trying to build their five-on-five chemistry through the first two games, and it’s apparent that more time is needed. Head coach Jim Montgomery shook up the lines at practice today as they continue to find the best fits. But, special teams have been by far the biggest positive to start the season, and it undoubtedly earned them a win in regular season game number two. If the Bruins are to have a competitive season, special teams are trending toward being a key factor in winning games throughout the long haul.