Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Nov 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) high-fives left wing Brad Marchand (63) after a game against the New York Islanders at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s been one near-constant request demand from Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery this year, it’s been for his team to play faster. He’s wanted more pace, wanted more urgency, and wanted to see the team simply try to run the other team out of the building with their ability to execute at high speed.

And though it hasn’t always been there, it’s been there enough for the Bruins to kick their 2023-24 campaign off with a stellar 11-1-1 record, with Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Islanders coming as the group’s latest highlight.

But while it was just one of 11 victories, and one of 82 on the schedule, Montgomery took to the podium Thursday night beyond pleased with what his team was able to put forth on their way to victory.

  • “We came wave after wave,” Montgomery said following the victory. “I thought that was one of our best, if not the best, offensive game we’ve had this year as a team.”

    Even through 20 minutes of play, and clinging to a one-goal lead through 40 minutes, a shorthanded goal surrendered just 10 seconds into a power-play opportunity in the third period of play seemingly put the Bruins on their heels. But the team regroup, retook the lead less than a minute later, and even found the necessary insurance marker in what finished as a run of three straight goals to handle the Isles on Garden ice.

    Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars from a win over the Islanders…

  • No. 3 Star: Trent Frederic

    Nov 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) reacts after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) reacts after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

  • At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Bruins forward Trent Frederic needed his first-period goal about as much as one needs a first-period goal in the 13th game of the season.

    Stuck in the mud of a six-game point drought entering Thursday’s contest, Frederic’s ability to find a whole bunch of time and a whole bunch of space allowed the Bruins to strike first, and against an undeniably upper-echelon goaltender in New York’s Ilya Sorokin.

    And though it was the first and only time that Frederic beat Sorokin in this contest, it wasn’t his only look, as the 6-foot-3 wing generated some chances that failed to land on the scoresheet and added an assist by the end of his 13:14 evening.

  • No. 2 Star: James van Riemsdyk

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 09: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Kevin Shattenkirk #12 and James van Riemsdyk #21 after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at TD Garden on November 09, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 09: Trent Frederic #11 celebrates with Kevin Shattenkirk #12 and James van Riemsdyk #21 after scoring a goal against the Islanders at TD Garden on November 09, 2023. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • The Bruins’ signing of James van Riemsdyk to a one-year, $1 million contract has already shown signs of being a massive win for a club that always needs more depth scoring and more jam around the front of the net.

    But one thing that’s sort of flown under the radar when it comes to JVR’s game has been his passing, which was displayed prominently Thursday night, with two assists in the victory. I’m not gonna lie, when I thought of van Riemsdyk and his potential boost to the Bruins, I didn’t think of his passing game. So I asked Frederic outright if he’s been surprised by that element of his game, and I loved his answer. Frederic said no, he’s not surprised because JVR’s been able to score ‘like 600 points’ in the NHL. Touché.

    In addition to the passing prowess in Thursday’s win, JVR also provided the perfect screen on the David Pastrnak power-play goal that squeaked through Sorokin, which held as the game-winning goal.

  • No. 1 Star: Charlie Coyle

    Nov 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) reacts after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) reacts after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Don’t look now, but Bruins center Charlie Coyle is paced for what would be an absolute career year. And that was even before he added another two goals en route to the hat trick.

    Through 13 games this year, Coyle is up to five goals and 12 points. Should he continue at the pace he was through 40 minutes of action, he would hit the 60-point mark for the first time in his career. And should he continue to shoot the puck like he did to earn his first career hat trick, he’ll hit the 70-point mark. Of course, asking Coyle to perform at this level for a full 82 is going to be a tough ask (especially with how Montgomery likes to use him as a defensive stopper and top penalty-killing option), but there’s no denying that Coyle has embraced the challenge of stepping into a higher-profile role this year with Bergeron and Krejci gone.

    And what Montgomery liked most about his game in this one? Yup, you guessed it, his pace.

    “This was his most complete game,” Montgomery admitted. “Like when Charlie’s skating like he was tonight, like early in the first, he got a puck and he skated around at the offensive blue line, skated wide and took it deep. That’s when I know he has that extra gear. And I’ve talked to him about that.

    “I thought he was playing slower than he did last year. And he plays a lot of hard defensive minutes for us on the penalty kill and the matchups I give him, and he’s just a team-first guy. But when he has that jump like he had tonight, he becomes a dynamic offensive player.”

    Play the highlights at the Cameo Theater all week long.

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