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Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 24: Pavel Zacha #18 of the Boston Bruins fist bumps teammates after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period at the United Center on October 24, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Entering the 2023-24 season, the Bruins were the first ones to warn you that they would not the same record-breaking club they were a year ago. That message came from everyone in the organization, too. Management, coaches, and players. Pretty sure Blades would’ve told you as much if they allowed him to speak with the media, really.

And who could blame them? The Bruins lost Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci to retirement, and lost every single high-impact pending free agent that ended up hitting the open marker this past summer. Saying “we’re not going to be the same team” by all means went without saying, but you had to appreciate the warning and self-awareness all the same.

So, naturally, the Bruins have opened up the 2023-24 season by matching a franchise record.

Because of course.

  • In Chicago with a chance at matching some franchise history, the Bruins did exactly that, and in dominant fashion, as the Bruins shutout the Blackhawks by a 3-0 final to improve to 6-0-0 on the season.

    That ties this year’s Bruins squad with the 1937-38 Bruins for the longest season-opening win streak in the club’s century-long history, and now gives the Bruins the chance to set a new franchise record when they finally come home for Thursday’s head-to-head with the Ducks.

    Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars from a 3-0 win in Chicago

  • No. 3 Star: Matt Poitras

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 24: Matthew Poitras #51 of the Boston Bruins fist bumps teammates after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period at the United Center on October 24, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 24: Matthew Poitras #51 of the Boston Bruins fist bumps teammates after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period at the United Center. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

  • Sorry, Guelph, but I’m beginning to think that Matt Poitras will be staying in Boston.

    In action for the sixth game of his nine-game trial with the club, and one game removed from scoring the first and second goal of his NHL career, the 19-year-old Poitras followed that performance up with a breakaway strike in the Black and Gold’s Tuesday victory over the Blackhawks. Complete with Poitras turning on the jets and making the 38-year-old Corey Perry look like a 78-year-old Corey Perry, too.

    In addition to the goal, Poitras finished Tuesday’s contest with three shots, a blocked shot, and even got a late-game promotion to the first line between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

    And two thirds of his way through his extended preseason with the Bruins, Poitras leads all rookies with three goals, and his four points are tied with Logan Cooley (No. 3 overall pick, 2022), Connor Bedard (No. 1 overall pick, 2023), and Adam Fantilli (No. 3 overall pick, 2023) for the second-most among all rookies.

  • No. 2 Star: Jeremy Swayman

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 24: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins makes a save against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period at the United Center on October 24, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 24: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins makes a save against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period at the United Center on October 24, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

  • A lot has been made of the lighter schedule the Bruins have faced out of the gate. Both in terms of quality of competition and the rather unusual spacing of their games. But the quickest things that can wash that advantage away is porous goaltending, and that’s something these B’s simply don’t have to worry about. At all.

    With Linus Ullmark already surging in what’s been a more-than-encouraging follow-up to last year’s Vezina-winning season, Jeremy Swayman has matched him every step of the way, and put forth yet another stellar outing with a 23-save shutout performance over the Blackhawks.

    Swayman didn’t exactly have to stand on his head in this contest, sure, but there’s something to be said for the way that he didn’t let the Blackhawks crawl back into this contest. Even when a two- and three-goal lead gave him more than enough reason to let his guard down for a moment for a moment or two.

  • No. 1 Star: Pavel Zacha

    Oct 24, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Boston Bruins center Pavel Zacha (18) celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 24, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Boston Bruins center Pavel Zacha (18) celebrates his goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period at United Center. (David Banks/USA TODAY Sports)

  • For what it’s worth, the Bruins haven’t been worried about Pavel Zacha’s lack of production out of the gate.

    Part of that is because the Bruins know it’s entirely too early to be concerned with anybody’s lack of production. But really their comfort with Zacha’s 0-1-1 line through the opening five games came with his performance at the other end of the rink, with Zacha looking every bit capable of a three-zone center option for the club.

    And that’s all well and good for the Bruins, but when Zacha saw the puck on Kevin Shattenkirk’s stick and a pathway for a potential deflection goal, the Czech-born furiously slapped the ice to ask for the puck and delivered with his first goal of the season.

    Talk about a weight off your shoulders.

    The great news about Zacha finally getting on the board in this game? It really didn’t take away from the ‘complete game’ that the Bruins have loved about his game this season. Deployed for 18:01 (second-most among all Bruins, just 10 seconds behind Jake DeBrusk), Zacha also chipped in with two hits, and won nine of his 15 battles at the faceoff dot.

    The Bruins also outright dominated the puck with Zacha on the ice, with a 15-4 shot attempt advantage, 8-2 scoring chance advantage, and 7-3 shot advantage per NaturalStatTrick.

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