It’s never easy to replace Patrice Bergeron on the Bruins top line, especially where you’re trying to replace the built chemistry between Bergeron and linemate Brad Marchand. At least for one night, the Bruins were able to do just that.
After trailing 2-0 and 3-1, the Bruins first line of Brad Marchand, David Backes and David Pastrnak carried the load as the Bruins skated to a 6-3 opening night win in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.
Here is what we learned.
Backes fills in nicely for Bergeron:
The trio of Marchand, Backes and Pastrnak accounted for all six Bruins goals 12 points in total and a plus-16 rating. Each member of the Bruins top line scored twice in the victory. With Bergeron day-to-day with a lower body injury, Backes had the difficult task of filling the void left by the longest tenured Bruin, but the former St. Louis Blue was up to the task. The trio really took the game over starting in the second period and did not look back from there. Pastrnak praised Backes for being loud and talking to him on the ice, something a more soft-spoken Bergeron is not known for.
No world cup hangover for Marchand:
After going the distance in last month’s World Cup of Hockey where Marchand and Team Canada took home gold in the month-long tournament, one would expect a slow start for Marchand and some of the others from Team Canada. But, at least for one night, Marchand showed no signs of being slowed down by the World Cup. Marchand led all Bruins with five points and was by far the best player on the ice. His second goal was a thing of beauty and exactly what Bruins management wants to see after investing in Marchand longterm with his recent contract extension.
Rough start for Bruins’ rookies:
A lot of eyes were on Brandon Carlo, Rob O’Gara, Austin Czarnik and Danton Heinen as the four youngsters were making their National Hockey League debuts last night. It certainly was not the most memorable debut for the four, but growing pains are always expected for rookies making their NHL debuts. The four combined for four penalty minutes and just one point (Carlo assist) in the victory. Despite finishing the night a plus-five, Carlo’s mistakes were noticeable on the plays leading up to the Blue Jackets second and third goals.
Chara logs big minutes:
With the lack of a true number two d-man, the Bruins once again will be leaning heavily on their captain to anchor their blue line. In Thursday’s victory, Chara logged a team-high 22:30. Chara finished the night a plus-five with four blocked shots and one hit. Chara’s minutes will have to be watched carefully as the aging sky scrapper continues to slow down. With the Bruins blue line in transition and the team down two veterans, it doesn’t appear Chara will be seeing south of 20 minutes anytime soon.