Well you can basically flip the script from Week 2 for Week 3 of the NHL season for the Bruins. Instead of winning two games and losing one ugly, the Bruins started out the week ugly with back-to-back losses against the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers. Both of where brutal showing by the B’s in blowout fashion. Really the only highlight you could take out of those two games was Austin Czarnik scoring his first NHL goal. Luckily the Bruins salvaged the week with a solid win Saturday night against Atlantic Division foe the Detroit Red Wings.
Here are the BostonPucks.com thoughts on week 3 of the Bruins season:
Tuukka Is The Difference Maker
Over the past week we, and all the #TradeTuukka clowns, have really seen the value of Tuukka Rask and what hockey would look like in Boston without him. It’d be ugly. As we saw Malcolm Subban had a disastrous outing against the Wild. And although it went a mildly better for Zane McIntyre against the Rangers it still wasn’t great only because the kid isn’t ready for the NHL. McIntyre actually made some big saves in debut, looked poised, and didn’t seem totally out of place like Subban did. But without NHL caliber goaltending skills (yet), and shoddy defense playing in front of both of them, it was a feeding frenzy for the opposition.
Then Tuukka came back on Saturday night against the Red Wings and all was right in the world. He pitched a perfectly timed shutout to remind any doubters how valuable he is to the Bruins. It is very important for the Bruins to help keep Tuukka healthy. He is now 4-0 with a .958 save percentage and a 1.26 goals against average on the season. And with Tuukka between the pipes it seems like the defense can relax, play more confidently, and stick to playing a simple game.
It truly is amazing how much of a difference Tuukka makes on this team especially after we got a good look at what it would look like without him. It was not something I would be willing to watch.
Lineup Changes Need To Be Made
With a tough schedule coming up this week that includes a trip to the state of Florida, it seems some lineup changes need to be made. The Bruins scored a combined 3 goals in 3 games this week. Their lone win this against Detroit was a squeaker, 1-0 win.
The “3rd line” has continued to do nothing. We can’t really begin to explain how useless they’ve been. As much as I was against having David Backes center the third line I am now thinking it needs to happen. That group cannot continue to function as currently constructed. Matt Beleskey has done what he does. He hits everything that moves, but has not had many opportunities to score. Although I think Jimmy Hayes is more engaged and has more jump in his step this season, he just doesn’t get much done out there. To make matters worse, their line gets stuck in their own end a lot.
Personally, I think they need to balance the lines a bit when Backes returns. The fourth line has been great so I would not make any changes there. Obviously you have to keep Bergeron and Marchand together. But I think they should play with one of the young guys, either Austin Czarnik or Danton Heinen, with 63 and 37. The Bruins also need to do something to get David Krejci going so I would line him up with “the Goon” David Pastrnak when he returns and Matt Beleskey. Hopefully that would get both Beleskey and Krejci going. Then the new third line would be highlighted by Backes at center with Spooner on the wing. This leaves Czarnik, Heinen, Nash, or Hayes on the other wing. I doubt this will happen but it probably should be Hayes sitting in the 9th floor press box as the healthy scratch.
I Hate The Pastrnak Suspension
As if things weren’t a struggle enough for the Bruins, they now have to play against the Florida Panthers without David Pastrnak due to his two game suspension for his hit on New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi. Thankfully the B’s were able to grab a win against Detroit in Pasta’s first game in the bleachers. But I hated the suspension and not because it’s a Bruin who got it.
I’m not saying you can’t suspend a player for a questionable hit (because he went high when he didn’t need to) but the fact that Pastrnak, who has no prior history of anything egregious or dirty, didn’t get a fine and a warning instead for his first offense is disappointing. It’s sets an awfully shitty precedent around the NHL if this is how it’s going to be. So when little 150 lb. Johnny Gaudreau or Mitch Marner come up high on a bang-bang play, that needs to be slowed down and watched numerous times from fifty different angles to even determine if it’s bad, they’ve now got to sit two games for their first and likely unintential hit? Yet Steve Ott can spear Zdeno Chara right in the bean bag with blatant disregard and only get fined a night at the strip club worth of ones?
Again, this is a slippery slope for the NHL if they’re not careful. If this is how they want it to be then everyone will have to adjust and get lucky it cases when there isn’t time to change the direction you’re hitting a player. Unfortunately for the players the NHL may be the most inconsistent of all professional leagues when it comes down to handing out suspensions.
I actually did think Pastrnak would get suspended, but not because I thought the hit was terrible. I thought he’d get suspended because the department of player safety would feast on an opportunity to set an example when they should and could have done so many times before with harsher penalties for deliberate repeat offenders.
What On Tap?
The Bruins have the once vacation state of Florida road trip this week. They play the Panthers on Tuesday and the Lightning on Thursday. Then on Saturday they are back at the TD Garden to get revenge against the Rangers. This certainly could a difficult week
to watch for the Bruins.