Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Let’s empty the ol’ notebook after the Boston Bruins’ season-opening win over the Chicago Blackhawks…

Carlo’s Confidence

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 19: Brandon Carlo #25 of the Boston Bruins takes a shot against the Florida Panthers during the first period of Game Two of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 19, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 19: Brandon Carlo #25 of the Boston Bruins takes a shot against the Florida Panthers during the first period of Game Two of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 19, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo displayed in the season opener his typical skills that he excels at – using his size to steer away rushing forwards, an active stick in the defensive end – but what really stood out about Carlo on Wednesday night was his confidence shooting the puck.

Carlo was second among Bruins defensemen to his (blue) linemate, Hampus Lindholm, with three total shot attempts against the Blackhawks, and also showed impressive poise and accuracy when shooting for tip-ins. He and Trent Frederic looked like they were playing pool on the Bruins’ first goal of the season.

Carlo confidently fired the puck well outside the range of the net, then Frederic angled it around Blackhawks goalie Arvid Söderblom. The netminder had no chance.

  • “[Carlo’s] always shooting for tips, and I feel like I tipped a couple of his last year,” Frederic said after the game. “They don’t all go in, but he’s he’s definitely good at shooting. You know, sometimes you’re just shooting to get a tip and sometimes to score.

    “Like that one, I think he’s probably just shooting it to get a tip and it just went in. So, it was a good play by him.”

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 11: Hampus Lindholm #27 of the Boston Bruins defends Taylor Raddysh #11 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of the Bruins home opener at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 11: Hampus Lindholm #27 of the Boston Bruins defends Taylor Raddysh #11 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of the Bruins home opener at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Carlo was the one who cashed in on the scoresheet, but Lindholm arguably had an even better game. If you’ll indulge me in some advanced stats for a moment, because they help my argument … the Bruins had an outstanding 38-14 advantage in shot attempts with Lindholm on the ice at five-on-five. Just over 73 percent of the shots.

    That is an unbelievable rate. Especially since Lindholm and Carlo had the two lowest rates of offensive zone faceoffs (20 percent and 28.5 percent). This pairing has been known more as a purely defensive pair, but they may be emerging as something closer to a two-way force.

  • Pastrnak’s Snipe

    Oct 11, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his goal with left wing Milan Lucic (17) during the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 11, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his goal with left wing Milan Lucic (17) during the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    David Pastrnak is at the point that no goal he scores will surprise anyone. But it can’t be stressed enough how hard it would be for most NHL forwards to score his first goal.

    Not many snipers can come down on their off wing and go far-side to straight-up beat the goaltender the way Pastrnak did Wednesday night, on a consistent basis. And even fewer can make it look that easy. It’s really not. But Pastrnak can do it.

    Auston Matthews could probably pull that off. Connor McDavid, for sure. Hell, maybe even Connor Bedard. But Pastrnak is on the short list of scorers who can put the puck in the net in such a spot.

  • Poitras Almost Pots One

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 11: Matthew Poitras #51 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Chicago Blackhawks in his first NHL game during the third period of the Bruins home opener at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Blackhawks 3-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 11: Matthew Poitras #51 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Chicago Blackhawks in his first NHL game during the third period of the Bruins home opener at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Blackhawks 3-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Matt Poitras had an impressive NHL debut Wednesday night, certainly when you put it in the context of him being 19 years old. He grabbed his first career point with an assist on Frederic’s goal, after making a slick cross-ice pass from the half wall.

    But before that, Poitras came very close to scoring a goal on his very first NHL shift. He was able to slip his way into the net front with nothing between him and the goalie, then corral a fluttering puck to the ice for a quick backhand attempt for his first career scoring chance. He looked so poised out there, we had to be reminded that he’s a kid when he spoke after the game.

    “Yeah, it’s pretty cool to hear your name on the P.A. announcement,” Poitras said. “I mean, yeah, it’s crazy, playing in the NHL. It’s a dream come true.”

  • Mixing It Up

    Oct 11, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) is congratulated by left wing Milan Lucic (17) after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks as left wing Nick Foligno (17) leaves the ice during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 11, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) is congratulated by left wing Milan Lucic (17) after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks as left wing Nick Foligno (17) leaves the ice during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery made a notable amount of shakeups on his forward lines over the course of Wednesday’s game. That’s nothing new, but it was noticeable, especially since it was the first game of the season.

    Among the notable changes: switching Milan Lucic with James van Riemsdyk at left wing; Poitras getting a shift at center with Brad Marchand; Frederic lining up with Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk; and Marchand getting a look with fourth-line forwards Johnny Beecher and Jakub Lauko.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 11: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins talks with David Pastrnak #88 before the Bruins home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 11: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins talks with David Pastrnak #88 before the Bruins home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    “Yeah, it’s something I do a lot,”Montgomery said. “A lot of times it comes off of, you know, we just were shorthanded, and I felt Lucic was skating well, so I put him up with Zacha and Pasta for a couple shifts. van Riemsdyk’s game was really good and I told him that. I said, ‘You’re not being punished here, I’m just trying to spread around the minutes.’

    “Early in the year, you don’t want to overtax someone with minutes. And then I want to see Poitras with Marchand a little bit, five-on-five. And I know that J.D. and Coyle and Freddy have played well together, and they can close out a game well together.”

  • Cleanup In Aisle B

    Oct 11, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (98) stuffs home his first NHL goal on Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 11, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (98) stuffs home his first NHL goal on Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    While it was a solid season-opening win for the Bruins, it certainly wasn’t perfect. Montgomery described it as “very average.” And the one goal they allowed is definitely something they’ll want to clean up.

    It was a tough situation for Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark to track, with the traffic and puck battle going on right by the left post. But he was slow to react as Bedard found the loose puck and whipped to the other side for the wrap-around goal. At the same time, four Bruins were bunched up on the side of the puck battle, giving Bedard a clean lane to the far post.

    When they don’t get an immediate, clean breakout, things still tend to get squirrelly for the Bruins defensively. They’ll go over that. We’re expecting someone to be protecting the net better next time, and for Ullmark to react quicker.

  • Coyle On The PK

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 11: Charlie Coyle #13 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period of the Bruins home opener at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Blackhawks 3-1.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 11: Charlie Coyle #13 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period of the Bruins home opener at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Blackhawks 3-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Charlie Coyle had a quiet game offensively on Wednesday night (just one shot on goal in 15:55 of ice time), but he stood out as a penalty killer. The Bruins allowed no shot attempts in 2:21 of PK ice time for Coyle, and it wasn’t for a lack of chances.

    Coyle made an outstanding poke-check to break up a potential high-danger scoring chance for ex-Bruin Ryan Donato during a Blackhawks power play in the second period. It was the kind of nondescript play that won’t show up in the box score, but it’s winning hockey. He’ll be counted on to keep making those plays in the post-Patrice Bergeron era.

  • Click here for complete Boston Bruins coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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