If you all remember correctly, the Boston Bruins got off to a dreadful start last season; going 0-3-0 in their first three games, all of which were at home. This year, Premiere Week in the NHL slated the Bruins to play each of their first three games on the road, an environment where the B's thrived last year (25-13-3, 4th best in the NHL). Through the first three games, it appears as though the Bruins are going to have a repeat of their road success, going 2-1-0 without their leader, Patrice Bergeron, for any of the games.
Of course, it wasn't easy for the black and gold. They were often sloppy and should've given up goals but luckily did not. Let's start this week's recap with the "3 Stars of the Week."
3. Brad Marchand (2 G, 5 A, +7 +/- Rating)
The man with the new contract, Brad Marchand. Marchand, through the small sample size of three games, has given us a reason to believe that last season was no fluke. Despite the majority of his professional success coming with Bergeron centering him, Marchy had to get acclimated to a new man at center due to Bergeron's lower-body injury. That man is David Backes, who has filled in admirably for the Bruins assistant captain. Brad Marchand really dazzled us on opening night, posting 5 points on 2 goals and 3 assists, the latter of the two goals was off of a gorgeous self-pass through the legs of a Columbus defenseman. Marchand also contributed an assist in each of the final two games of the road trip, tallying 7 points for the week.
2. Tuukka Rask (2-0-0, 2.01 GAA, 93.9 SV. %)
Now look, those numbers are a bit deceiving. Rask wasn't sharp in the season opener against the Jackets by any means. In fact, he allowed a goal on the first shot he faced all season to center Alexander Wennberg. However, the other two goals he allowed against Columbus weren't on him. One was on a sick backdoor feed to Cam Atkinson on a power play, and the other came through a triple screen off the stick of Seth Jones; Plus, the Bruins won 6-3. After sitting the Toronto game and allowing Anton Khudobin to completely crap his pants, Rask came out and put on a clinic against the Winnipeg Jets, stopping 34/35 shots faced. The only goal he allowed came off a gorgeous finish on a breakaway by ex-Bruin, Blake Wheeler, who had just exited the penalty box after poor clock management by the Bruins D-pairing. However, Rask was unreal, leading to the numbers listed above, earning him my number 2 "Star of the Week."
1. David Pastrnak (4 G, 2 A, +6 +/- Rating)
I'm going to come out and say I expected Pastrnak to be a key contributor on the first line this year; what I didn't expect was for him to flat out dominate right away. Pasta put on a few lbs this offseason (all muscle) and it's starting to show. Many times, all ready, we've seen Pastrnak get in on the forecheck and bang bodies or even win a battle against a big defenseman; whereas last year he would've been either too shy to go on the attack, or just get thrown around like a rag doll. Not only that, but through the first week of the season, #88 has a league-leading 4 goals (tied with Auston Matthews and Richard Panik). Also, last year Pasta was a walking turnover, while this year so far he has been smarter with the puck and has made very few mistakes.
Now along with the 3 Studs, comes 3 Duds for this past week.
1. The Spooner Line (Beleskey-Spooner-Hayes, 1 point in total)
I was so excited for the start of the Bruins season, and I, for one, was excited about this line. In the offseason, Jimmy Hayes talked about how he worked on his speed and strength so that he can be an effective player this year after getting bashed by his hometown last season for his poor performance. However, none of that has shown (0 points, -4 +/- Rating). He's not alone, though, as Matt Beleskey (0 points, -4 +/- Rating) and Ryan Spooner (1 A, -1 +/- Rating) have also been dreadful to watch. Beleskey has at least gotten physical to the point where he isn't too much of a worry, but Hayes and Spooner have been vitually non-existent thus far.
2. Colin Miller (0 Points, -5 +/- Rating)
It's early and Colin Miller is still very young, but this guy needs to step it up in a hurry or he's going to be the odd man out when Adam McQuaid and/or Kevan Miller return to the ice. Miller was one of the guys I was raving about last year and complaining because he wasn't given enough of an opportunity at the NHL level. But now that he is, he's been pretty bad to say the least. Now he looked alright against the Jets, better than the first two games, but he is one of the guys on the ice for seemingly every goal the B's allow (5 out of the 8). I'm not worried yet because, like I said, it's still early. It's just something I noted so far.
3. Torey Krug (0 Points)
Torey Krug makes the list because he hasn't done really anything to help the Bruins so far; that being said, his play hasn't hurt them yet. I fully expect Torey Krug to get hot and have a very good year on the blue-line, but he is too important on the offensive side to not have any points thus far. Not to mention the fact that he hasn't looked sharp on the power play. Maybe that all turns around with the return of Patrice Bergeron (expected to play Thursday), maybe he's just not warmed up. We will see.
David Backes (2 G, 1 A, +7 +/-, and 2 fights)
Zdeno Chara ( 1 G, 1 A, +6 +/-, and 1 fight)
Brandon Carlo (1 G, 1 A, +7 +/-)
Austin Czarnik (0 Points, 1 SOG, -3 +/-)
David Krejci (1 Point, 3 SOG)
Anton Khudobin (0-1-0, 4.00 GAA, 83.3 SV. %)