Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 28: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring a penalty shot awarded after he was slashed by Jake Walman #96 of the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at TD Garden on October 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Red Wings 4-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

82-0-0 may no longer be on the table for Jim Montgomery and the Bruins, but hopes of a 81-0-1 campaign remain alive and well following what was a strong bounce-back victory over the Red Wings at TD Garden on Saturday night.

And against a high-end opponent, too.

Going up against a Red Wings squad that entered play with a league-high 35 goals scored this season — and led by the dynamic one-two punch of Dylan Larkin and Alex DeBrincat — the Bruins put forth an effort that held Detroit’s attack to just 23 shots on goal. And the Bruins held a Detroit power play that entered the night clicking at nearly 40 percent to an 0-for-4 mark on the man advantage, and allowed the Wings to land just two shots on goal while up a man.

It was the exact kind of performance you wanted and needed to see from the Bruins after Thursday’s late-game collapse that allowed way too much time and space for an Anaheim club that can certainly put the puck in the net.

“We neutralized their speed through their rush attack,” Montgomery said of his team’s success against the Red Wings. “I thought we protected our house from the back of the net and from the passes to the slot. It’s a real gifted offensive team there, the Red Wing are. And I thought our focus on defense and our focus on offense, both [executed] the game plan.”

  • And with the victory, the Bruins continued what’s been an encouraging trend under Montgomery, as the team improved to 15-2-1 in regular-season games following a loss since the start of last season, and with the Bruins outscoring opponents 55-34 over that span.

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

  • No. 3 Star: Jeremy Swayman

    Oct 26, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) controls the puck during the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 26, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) controls the puck during the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • This wasn’t quite the night that many, myself included, expected to see from the Red Wings. In fact, the Wings landed eight fewer shots on goal than their nightly average (31.3) heading into tonight’s game. (A lot of credit for that drop goes to the Bruins, of course.) So while Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman wasn’t under duress and didn’t quite need to steal this game for the Bruins, there’s something to be said for Swayman making the saves he needed to en route to his fourth victory in as many starts this season.

    Something that really stood out about Swayman’s game in this one was his ability to freeze the puck and settle things down for the Bruins when they were gassed in their own end or getting a little too careless with the puck. This is something that made Linus Ullmark such an elite weapon last season, and to see it rub off on Swayman this season will only help the B’s over the course of an 82-game grind. It was especially noticeable in the third period once the Red Wings started making their push after Joe Veleno’s goal.

    With the 22-of-23 performance, Swayman’s season save percentage of .957 held firm (just a bonkers figure out of the gate), while his goals against average dropped from 1.34 to 1.26.

  • No. 2 Star: Charlie McAvoy

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 28: Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at TD Garden on October 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 28: Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at TD Garden on October 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • This was a good old fashioned ‘takeover’ game from Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

    Deployed for a team-high 21:24, McAvoy struck on a net-front drive for the Black and Gold’s second goal of the evening, and added one hit and a blocked shot by the night’s end.

    Beyond the raw data, the Bruins also out-attempted Detroit by a 15-10 mark, and out-shot them 7-4, with McAvoy out there for a 12:30 sample of five-on-five action.

    And McAvoy, along with Matt Grzelcyk, also drew the Dylan Larkin-Alex DeBrincat assignment for the majority of the night at five-on-five play, and they handled that absolutely perfectly. In fact, it was hard to notice either one of the Red Wings’ stud one-two punch out there.

    “I think Charlie in the last little while here, I thought he started the year off well, but now I think he’s just dominating,” Montgomery said.

  • No. 1 Star: David Pastrnak

    Oct 26, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) waves to the fans after scoring a goal on a penalty shot during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 26, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) waves to the fans after scoring a goal on a penalty shot during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • With the Bruins playing with fire in the third period, it was David Pastrnak who once again played the role of hero, this time with a penalty-shot goal that made Ville Husso look downright lost.

    I mean, come on, that’s just ridiculous.

    But Pastrnak wasn’t done. He also came through the empty-net goal that made him look like an all-world billiards player, as he was able to bank the puck off the boards at the benches and down the ice and into the Detroit net. After the game, Pastrnak joked that no, he’s not a good pool player but that he was just exhausted.

    And through eight games, Pastrnak is up to eight goals, and has shown no signs of slowing down from the pace of last year’s 62-goal output. You’re also noticing Pastrnak become a more complete player, especially when it comes to his physicality, with No. 88 finishing checks with emphasis at a higher rate than ever before.

    Oh, and he made some more history with that penalty-shot goal. Not only did Pastrnak become the first Bruins player to score multiple penalty-shot goals in a season since Brad Marchand accomplished the feat in 2015-16, but he also scored two penalty-shot goals in a season faster than anybody else in league history, beating the previous record held by Brian Rolston, who scored two penalty-shot goals in the first 20 games of the season for the Minnesota Wild back in 2006-07.

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