What we learned: Bruins shake things up in come from behind win
The Bruins’ matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes, the NHL’s newest and certainly untraditional storyline, was simply that; untraditional.
The teams combined for 75 shots, nine penalties, four power play goals and numerous shorthanded scoring chances. It even saw Bruce Cassidy break up Boston’s dynamic trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.
The Bruins weathered the storm — no pun intended — and Marchand tallied two impressive goals to down the Hurricanes Tuesday night, 3-2. Here’s we learned from Boston’s chaotic come-from-behind victory at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
It might be Jaroslav Halak’s time
After seemingly every game, the main talking point around the Bruins is goaltender performance and it appears that Jaroslav Halak has taken the lead over Tuukka Rask.
This isn’t as much about what Rask isn’t doing, but rather about what Halak is doing.
Tuesday night against Carolina, the 33-year-old goaltender stood on his head, made 42 saves and never let the Hurricanes get more than a one-goal lead when Boston’s offense was struggling. Halak was up to the task for every one of Carolina’s breakaway opportunities and the two goals he gave up came on the penalty kill.
🚫WHAT A SAVE🚫
PART 2 pic.twitter.com/ZnooSLF0Jp
— Boston Bruins on CLNS (@BruinsCLNS) October 31, 2018
This wasn’t the first time where Halak was a difference maker as he is 4-0-2 in his first seven appearances. It’s not a guarantee that he will take over sole possession of the starting role, as Boston, now 7-3-2, has enjoyed early success with a two-goalie rotation. Yet, it’s hard to imagine Halak not getting the reigns as Cassidy’s premier netminder if both goalies continue their trajectories.
Bruce Cassidy isn’t afraid to shake things up
The Bruins had trouble scoring goals until Pastrnak second period power play tally. They went exactly 92 minutes and 45 seconds between Tuesday’s first tally and Zdeno Chara’s empty-netter against the Flyers on Oct. 25.
With the recent lack of offensive production, Cassidy showed Tuesday that he isn’t afraid to shake things up. The third-year Bruins coach did the unthinkable and broke up Boston’s top line — that have combined for 50 points this season — by assigning Pastrnak to the second line to play alongside fellow countryman David Krejci and moving Jake DeBrusk up to the first line.
The Bruins netted three goals following the changes — two on the power play — but were all scored by members of the original top line so it is difficult to tell if the move had any real affect on the offensive depth and secondary scoring.
It is hard to imagine that this move is anything more than just a bandaid fix for the Bruins early scoring woes against the Hurricanes. But it’s also not hard to see Cassidy making necessary adjustments, even if it means breaking up one of the best lines in the National Hockey League.
Torey Krug makes his season debut
He worked hard during his rehab from an ankle injury at Training Camp and skated in the last two preseason games. But another setback in the final exhibition contest kept Boston’s top puck-moving defenseman out of the lineup for the first 11 games.
Krug finally made his regular season debut Tuesday night. He skated alongside John Moore on the Bruins’ second defensive line and picked up right where he left off quarterbacking the first power play unit.
The former Michigan State standout looked comfortable throughout his 18:03 of ice time — third most among Bruins defensemen — and notched a key assist on Pastrnak’s 11th goal of the season.
Krug’s addition into an already depleted defense that is missing Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller and Matt Grzelcyk is massive. His veteran presence and offensive mindset are exactly what the Bruins need as they continue to battle the injury bug.