Well that was a nice little win for the Bruins last night at the Garden. They took care of the miserable Detroit Red Wings 4-2 on the back of Ryan Fitzgerald, Danton Heinen, Austin Czarnik, and Uncle Teddy Purcell’s goals.
The biggest team takeaway from the night was speed, speed, and more speed. Whether it was through the neutral zone or the puck movement itself, everything was high tempo. It was pretty refreshing to watch a Bruins team look like an actual modern day NHL team and not just the “grit” filled archaic big bad Bruins style.
Here’s a few notes that stood out from the game:
- Austin Czarnik was fantastic. Kid was flying all over the ice, burying penalty shots, setting up one-timers, and just consistently in Detriots face. It looked like the Czarnik that caught my eye against the Habs in Montreal last season. He’s the ideal depth centerman. Blazing speed, smarts, solid on the draw, and as a bonus he has a mild scoring touch. It also seems he has an endless supply of energy.
- Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson went into the end boards pretty hard in the second period after feeding a highlight reel worthy back door pass to Danton Heinen for a tap in goal. Not sure the extent of the injury, or if keeping him out of the remainder of the game was purely precautionary or not. He was one of many young guys having a nice night.
- Jake DeBrusk, on a line with David Pastrnak and David Krejci, looked like he belongs there. He was strong on the puck, fighting to get to the net, and never seemed hurried or forcing things to his senior linemates. He looked very comfortable and effective. This was a strong showing for him.
- Ryan Fitzgerald had himself a nice game as well. He potted a beauty off a little give n’ go with Jakub Zboril and was sharp all night long. He’s also purging my memory of Jordan Caron by giving the ol’ #38 jersey a much needed cleansing.
- And speaking of Zboril, he is starting to get there also. He’s not as polished as some of the other defensemen but he is a guy who’s beginning to look the part. He had some nice plays getting the puck out of the zone and was the key to the Fitzgerald goal happening. It’s easy forget what a monster he is too. The kid is big.
- Torey Krug took a puck to the face which forced him (ie: “I’ve had enough of this preseason shit”) to leave the game. But it was clear he had massive jump in his game already and nearly buried a beauty just a minute or so into it. If Krug can get off to a much better start this year the Bruins will certainly reap the benefits.
- Not going to let this one bother me but Charlie McAvoy dealt with a couple hiccups tonight. A pretty dreadful d-zone turnover early when he blew a tire, and another weak one on an attempted breakout pass later in the game. But when you’re as good as he is it’s more the surprise of seeing those things happen that catch you off guard than anything else. Overall, he had a nice game as usual.
- Despite the loss, and a less than stellar team playing in front of him, I thought Peter Mrazek had a pretty good game in net for the Wings. Particularly in the first period where he was under fire from in tight. Those huge saves early gave his thin team a chance to hang around well into the third.
After watching this one I don’t envy Don Sweeney (outside of his paycheck) right now. The guy is going to have some tough decisions to make as to who stays with the big boys in Boston and who goes back down to Providence. The kids look good and a few look ready. Going back to Providence isn’t a bad thing for those who don’t make it either. Continued patience and seasoning is always a positive if there are still some questions about a player being truly ready for the show or not. This year just happens to be different. The young herd is deep. And they’re absolute pushing the old guys for jobs.
Scoresheet aside, DeBrusk and Czarnik were the two forwards that seemed the most consistent and made things happen all night. On defense, Zboril impressed me more than I expected. The X factor is how much do the Bruins brass take into consideration the fact that they played a poor JV team last night? It’s probably not that relevant. There’s plenty more preseason to go and I’d say this youthful depth situation is the best problem the B’s have had in a long time.
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