This week’s DTFR Power Rankings are here! A quick look at the standings and a few tidbits of news from the week.
Zdeno Chara surpassed 1,500 career games, Claude Julien reached 1,200 games behind the bench, the Toronto Maple Leafs are facing injuries and backup goaltender struggles, Taylor Hall reportedly won’t sign an extension with the New Jersey Devils, the 2019 NHL Global Series happened and the 2020 NHL Global Series was announced.
The new format of the DTFR Podcast is introduced as Dustin Byfuglien is out for an extended period of time, Louis Domingue was traded, Scott Sabourin suffered a scary injury and the New York Islanders are on a nine-game winning streak.
For the first time this season, the calendar is flipped to a new month– and with a new month comes new expectations.
All 31 National Hockey League teams are starting to find a rhythm– for better or worse– and it’s time to acknowledge the general trends of what to expect based on what’s already happened for the first 1/8th of the season (approximately).
American Thanksgiving is still around the corner, which means that any team in a playoff position by Nov. 28th is more likely to qualify for the playoffs by April 4th.
There’s enough time between now and then for a lot to change.
As always, that means it’s time for a new forecast based on what we’ve seen so far and what we may see in the future.
In other words, here’s an educated guess based on a formulaic approach thanks to the wonderful world of spreadsheets.
This isn’t an exact science. It takes into account everything from the last few seasons, as well as every little detail through the end of Oct. 31, 2019.
Anything can happen. It’s a long road to April.
Projected Standings After One Month
- p-Boston Bruins, 110 points (12 games played entering November 1st)
- x-Tampa Bay Lightning, 106 points (12 GP)
- x-Montreal Canadiens, 92 points (13 GP)
- Florida Panthers, 91 points (13 GP)
- Toronto Maple Leafs, 91 points (14 GP)
- Buffalo Sabres, 82 points (13 GP)
- Detroit Red Wings, 79 points (13 GP)
- Ottawa Senators, 74 points (11 GP)
The Boston Bruins are off to a hot start thanks to Tuukka Rask’s stellar goaltending (6-0-1 record, 1.42 goals against average, .951 save percentage in seven games played) and David Pastrnak’s hot stick (12-12–24 totals in 12 games played).
Bruce Cassidy’s leadership behind the bench has steered the B’s away from a Stanley Cup Final appearance hangover and towards another playoff berth for what would be the fourth year in-a-row.
Meanwhile, after a slow start to their season, Jon Cooper and the Tampa Bay Lightning casually waltz into home ice advantage in at least the First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Claude Julien re-enters the postseason frame with the Montreal Canadiens as if it’s 2004 again (granted, Julien and the Habs made it in 2017, but only after Julien replaced Michel Therrien as head coach for the second time).
Joel Quenneville’s first season as head coach of the Florida Panthers led to an improvement, but not quite enough to get them back into the postseason, while another Stanely Cup winning coach took his team in a different direction.
That coach is Mike Babcock and that team is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who trudged through the middle of the road all season and ended up just outside of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference (unless Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan decide to stray from the “Shanaplan”).
Though the Buffalo Sabres are hot right now, it seems history repeats itself. Buffalo’s great October, November and/or December wasn’t enough to sustain themselves through the winer months of January, February and March, but overall the team improved and should be a playoff contender next season.
At least the Sabres aren’t the Detroit Red Wings (still a few years away from being a contender) or the Ottawa Senators (they say they’ll spend money in 2021, but…).
- y-Washington Capitals, 110 points (14 GP)
- x-Pittsburgh Penguins, 102 points (13 GP)
- x-New York Islanders, 95 points (11 GP)
- wc1-Carolina Hurricanes, 92 points (12 GP)
- wc2-Columbus Blue Jackets, 91 points (12 GP)
- Philadelphia Flyers, 89 points (11 GP)
- New York Rangers, 87 points (10 GP)
- New Jersey Devils, 81 points (10 GP)
Alex Ovechkin continues his annual quest for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and likely succeeds unless Pastrnak has anything to say about it.
In the meantime, the Washington Capitals continue to take home the regular season crown in the Metropolitan Division because somehow they always seem to do that no matter the postseason outcome.
The Pittsburgh Penguins avoid major missteps without Evgeni Malkin in the lineup for most of October due to injury and turned things on for the duration of the second half of the season as they always do, yielding 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.
Barry Trotz’s leadership with the New York Islanders has keep things tight-knit and playoff bound, but unless every 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff home game for the Isles is played at NYCB Live/Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, then it’s not worth it.
Rod Brind’Amour is the best coach for the Carolina Hurricanes and he continues to climb the ranks of “best head coaches in franchise history” with another wild card appearance, at least, and what should be yet another thrilling playoff run for the Canes.
Meanwhile, somehow the Columbus Blue Jackets pieced together enough wins to snag the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference before bowing out in the First Round due to a lack of depth.
Finally, the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are all near the bottom of the division, but only with a few points spread between them– meaning that anything after 1st or 2nd place in the division is realistically up for grabs as long as a team goes on a perfectly timed run.
- z-Nashville Predators, 104 points (13 GP)
- x-St. Louis Blues, 101 points (13 GP)
- x-Winnipeg Jets, 93 points (13 GP)
- wc1-Colorado Avalanche, 92 points (12 GP)
- Chicago Blackhawks, 87 points (11 GP)
- Dallas Stars, 86 points (14 GP)
- Minnesota Wild, 85 points (13 GP)
In the Western Conference, the Nashville Predators are going to pounce on the competition as the leaders of the West in the regular season. The only trouble is, they still might blow it in the last second of overtime or something.
The defending champion St. Louis Blues are content to finish 2nd in the Central Division, but remain hungry in their quest for another Cup.
After a slow start to the season, Paul Maurice and the Winnipeg Jets somehow right the ship and earned themselves the last divisional spot in the Central Division.
But the Colorado Avalanche hold a wild card spot in the latest forecast as the real wild card of the entire Western Conference. Injuries could hold them back in the regular season, but they’ve shown they can make noise in the playoffs last spring.
Otherwise, if the Avs can stay healthy for longer periods of time, then Colorado could climb in the standings.
Finally, the Chicago Blackhawks are still trending in the wrong direction– facing the existential crisis of holding onto the old guard or continuing to dismantle their Cup-winning core– while the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild compete for the worst of the former and/or current Minnesota franchises this season.
Spoiler alert, it’s the Wild.
- y-Vegas Golden Knights, 101 points (14 GP)
- x-Anaheim Ducks, 96 points (14 GP)
- x-San Jose Sharks, 92 points (13 GP)
- wc2-Calgary Flames, 91 points (15 GP)
- Vancouver Canucks, 89 points (12 GP)
- Edmonton Oilers, 84 points (14 GP)
- Arizona Coyotes, 82 points (12 GP)
- Los Angeles Kings, 82 points (13 GP)
Nothing is going how things were expected to go in the Pacific Division and as a result, there’s still no conclusive results.
The Vegas Golden Knights are good and could likely win the Pacific Division regular season title, but the Anaheim Ducks aren’t bowing out of playoff contention just yet.
Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks are as bad as the Los Angeles Kings, so this forecast will be further fine-tuned next month as the Sharks continue to slip from dominant to dormant in the standings.
The Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers all might take a stab at playoff contention, yet the Arizona Coyotes are on the rise.
At the very least, this is the most unpredictable division in the league that not even our current forecast can make any definitive claims.
Check back next month for further separation in the spread, as well as a more realistic view of where each team should likely land within the range of standings.
Steven Stamkos’ only goal in a shootout was enough to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Boston Bruins, 4-3, on Thursday night at TD Garden.
The Bolts led briefly in the third period before the B’s tied the game almost two minutes later and forced overtime.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (4-1-0, 2.58 goals against average, .921 save percentage in five games played) made 34 saves on 37 shots against for a .919 SV% in the shootout win for Tampa.
Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (3-0-1, 1.72 GAA, .946 SV% in four games played) stopped 33 out of 36 shots faced for a .917 SV% in the shootout loss.
The Bruins fell to 5-1-1 (11 points) on the season and temporarily moved into 1st place in the Atlantic Division before the Buffalo Sabres won their late game Thursday night and regained control of the Atlantic.
Meanwhile, the Lightning improved to 4-2-1 (9 points) and moved into 3rd place in the Atlantic, thanks to having more points in fewer games than the Toronto Maple Leafs (Tampa has nine points in seven games, while Toronto has nine points in eight games).
For the seventh time this season, Kevan Miller (knee) and John Moore (shoulder) were out of the action due to injury.
David Krejci (upper body) was also ruled out of Thursday night’s action after sustaining an injury or re-injuring something in Monday afternoon’s meeting with the Anaheim Ducks.
Miller and Moore both skated on their own in red no-contact sweaters before practice Thursday morning, while Krejci’s prognosis is to be determined.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, juggled his lines in Krejci’s absence, moving Charlie Coyle and Brett Ritchie up to the second line with Jake DeBrusk (celebrating his 23rd birthday on Thursday) at left wing, while re-inserting Par Lindholm in the lineup at center on the third line and bumping Karson Kuhlman to the third line right wing.
Connor Clifton was also back in the lineup for Boston after serving his time as a healthy scratch against the Ducks.
David Backes and Steven Kampfer were the only healthy scratches for Boston on Thursday.
Midway through the opening frame, Lightning forward, Mikhail Sergachev, was guilty of holding Bruins forward, Brett Ritchie, and was sent to the penalty box at 9:27 of the first period.
Seven seconds into the ensuing power play, Boston’s David Pastrnak (7) struck first on the scoreboard with a power play goal on a one-timer pass from Patrice Bergeron to give the B’s the lead, 1-0, at 9:34.
Bergeron (5) and Torey Krug (4) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal.
With his 5th consecutive goal for Boston, Pastrnak tied Dunc Fisher for the 2nd most consecutive goals in Bruins franchise history. Glen Murray is the team record holder with six consecutive goals for Boston in the 2003-04 season, while Pastrnak and Fisher each have five in 2019-20 and 1951-52, repsectively.
Less than two minutes later, Sean Kuraly hooked Nikita Kucherov and Tampa went on the skater advantage for the first time of the night.
The Bruins killed off Kuraly’s minor without any major issues.
Moments later, Bergeron was penalized for slashing against Ondrej Palat and cut a rut to the sin bin at 16:09.
Once more, the Bolts weren’t able to convert on the resulting power play.
In the final seconds of the first period, Yanni Gourde flipped the puck through the neutral zone to Brayden Point (3) who entered the attacking zone on a quick breakaway and elevated the puck into the top of the twine to tie the game, 1-1, at 19:59.
Gourde (3) and Victor Hedman (6) notched the assists on Point’s goal as the teams went into the first intermission knotted at, 1-1.
Tampa led in shots on goal (16-11), hits (12-4) and faceoff win percentage (60-40), while Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (4-1) and giveaways (8-4).
Both teams had two takeaways aside after 20 minutes of action.
The Lightning were 0/2 on the skater advantage, while the B’s were 1/1 on the power play heading into the second period.
Bergeron took a beating early in the middle frame as No. 37 in black-and-gold was on the receiving end of consecutive penalties by the Lightning.
First, Carter Verhaeghe tripped Bergeron at 2:15 of the second period, then Gourde interfered with Bergeron at 6:23.
Boston was unsuccessful on their first power play of the second period, but worked their magic while Gourde was in the box.
Bergeron (2) redirected a slap pass from Pastrnak into the twine to give the Bruins their second power play goal of the game and the lead, 2-1.
Pastrnak (5) and Brad Marchand (6) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s goal at 7:26.
Shortly after regaining the lead, the Bruins turned the puck over at an inopportune time, leading to a quality scoring chance for the Bolts.
Tampa forward, Alex Killorn, fired a shot that Rask got a chunk of, but couldn’t contain the rebound as Mathieu Joseph (2) pounced on the loose puck for the tap-in goal, tying the game, 2-2.
Killorn (3) and Erik Cernak (1) were credited with the assists on Joseph’s goal at 10:32..
Late in the period, Cernak was charged with a minor for interference against Lindholm at 17:56 and the B’s went on the power play for the fourth time of the night.
Boston was not able to capitalize on the skater advantage, however.
Through 40 minutes of action at TD Garden, the Bruins and Lightning were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard.
Tampa led in shots on goal (29-21– including a, 13-10, advantage in the second period alone), blocked shots (6-5) and hits (22-9), while Boston led in takeaways (4-3) and giveaways (11-8).
The two clubs were split in faceoff win%, 50-50.
The Bolts were powerless on the power play (0/2) after two periods, while the B’s were 2/4 on the skater advantage heading into the third period.
Midway through the final frame of regulation, Matt Grzelcyk hooked Pat Maroon while trailing the Lightning forward and was sent to the box at 8:25 of the third.
Tampa didn’t convert on their third power play opportunity of the night and the Bruins killed off Grzelcyk’s minor as a result.
After dominating in shots on net, Boston gave up a chance the other way that Kevin Shattenkirk (4) was sure to take advantage of– sending a snap shot over Rask’s glove side from the faceoff dot to give the Lightning their first lead of the night, 3-2, at 15:13 of the third period.
Stamkos (5) and Point (2) recorded the assists on Shattenkirk’s goal.
The Bolts followed up their lead with a quick penalty of their own– Anthony Cirelli was guilty of a minor infraction for tripping Pastrnak at 16:08.
On the ensuing skater advantage, Boston fired everything but the kitchen sink towards the goal, missing the net entirely a couple of times, but proving to be worthy in the long-run.
After Marchand fired a shot off the endboards that caromed back into the slot, Pastrnak (8) sent the puck off of Shattenkirk’s stick and into the net behind Vasilevskiy to tie the game, 3-3, with his 2nd goal of the night.
Marchand (7) and Krug (5) each had a hand in assisting Pastrnak’s power play goal at 16:55.
Boston’s three goals all came on the power play, while Tampa’s weak penalty kill was on full display Thursday night.
At the end of regulation, the score remained tied, 3-3, on the scoreboard, while Tampa held onto a slim advantage in shots on goal, 33-32, despite trailing, 11-4, in shots on goal in the third period alone.
The Lightning maintained an advantage in blocked shots (12-9), takeaways (7-6), giveaways (15-12), hits (29-21) and faceoff win% (53-47) heading into overtime.
The Bolts were 0/3 on the power play, while the B’s were 3/5 on the skater advantage.
Cassidy started Coyle, Pastrnak and Krug in overtime, while Tampa’s head coach, Jon Cooper, opted for Cirelli, Killon and Hedman to kick things off in the five-minute, 3-on-3, OT action.
Neither team scored and Marchand had Point in a headlock in the dying seconds to prevent a last second scoring chance for the Bolts.
He was assessed a roughing penalty at 5:00 of the overtime period, but could still take part in the shootout, because apparently there’s no rule that’d say otherwise.
After the overtime period, the Bruins held the slight advantage in shots on goal, 37-36, including a, 5-3, advantage in overtime alone.
Tampa finished the night with the lead in blocked shots (12-9), giveaways (15-12), hits (31-21) and faceoff win% (53-47), while both teams had seven takeaways aside.
The Lightning finished the night 0/3 on the power play and the B’s went 3/5.
Boston elected to shoot second in the shootout, thereby giving Tampa the first shot of the first round of the shootout.
Cooper sent Hedman to get things started, but the defender was denied by Rask with a blocker save.
Cassidy responded by sending Coyle for the first attempt on Vasilevskiy, but the Tampa netminder wasn’t fooled by Coyle’s deke and made a pad save.
Point made an appearance for the Lightning in the second round of the shootout, but clipped Rask’s blocker and sent the puck wide of the net.
Next up for Boston, Pastrnak flat out missed the goal frame, leaving the shootout tied, 0-0, through two rounds.
Last season’s Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy winner, Kucherov had Tampa’s first shot of the third round of the shootout, but was stopped by Rask with the pad save as Kucherov tried to go five-hole.
In response, Marchand tried to get Vasilevskiy to stretch just far enough that Marchand would’ve eluded the Lightning goaltender, but Vasilevskiy made the save with the right leg pad and kept the shootout even, 0-0, through three rounds.
Finally, Stamkos broke open the scoring in the shootout with a shot high over Rask’s blocker and into the back of the net to give Tampa the, 1-0, advantage– meaning Boston would have to score to extend the shootout.
Celebrating his birthday in style, DeBrusk was given Boston’s last chance in the shootout, but was stopped by Vasilevskiy’s blocker, leaving the Bruins scoreless in the shootout and with the, 4-3, loss in the final boxscore.
Boston wrapped up their three-game homestand 2-0-1 thanks to their shootout loss to Tampa on Thursday.
The Bruins travel to Toronto for a home and home series with the Maple Leafs on Oct. 19th at Scotiabank Arena and Oct. 22nd at TD Garden.
It will be Boston and Toronto’s first meeting since their 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup.
Afterwards, the B’s then have a few days off until they’ll face the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in a 2019 Stanley Cup Final rematch for the first time this season at home on Oct. 26th.
St. Louis kicks off the first games on back-to-back days for the Bruins this season, as Boston will travel to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers on Oct. 27th before finishing the month on home ice against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 29th.
A four-goal afternoon– the first of his career– for David Pastrnak was enough to lift the Boston Bruins over the Anaheim Ducks, 4-2, Monday afternoon at TD Garden.
Jaroslav Halak (2-1-0, 1.69 goals against average, .951 save percentage in three games played) made 30 saves on 32 shots against for a .938 SV% in the win for Boston.
Ducks goaltender, John Gibson (3-2-0, 1.82 GAA, .941 SV% in five games played) stopped 19 out of 23 shots faced (.826 SV%) in the loss.
Pastrnak became the 19th Bruin in franchise history to have a four-goal game. Prior to Monday, Patrice Bergeron had the most recent four-goal game in franchise history in a, 7-1, win at home over the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 6, 2018.
Bergeron and Pastrnak are the only members on the current roster for Boston to have scored four goals in a game.
No. 88 in black-and-gold became the first Bruin to score four in game in the month of October since Dave Andreychuk had a four-goal effort in a, 7-3, victory on home ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 28th, 1999.
He (Pastrnak) was also the first to score all four of his team’s goals in a game in the win.
Boston improved to 5-1-0 (10 points) on the season and temporarily moved up to 1st in the Atlantic Division while the Buffalo Sabres were in action against the Dallas Stars Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Anaheim fell to 4-2-0 (8 points) and dropped to 3rd in the Pacific Division by virtue of the Vegas Golden Knights holding the tiebreaker in the standings (goal differential), since the two teams have the same record and have not faced each other yet this season.
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one change to his lineup from Saturday night’s matchup with the New Jersey Devils, scratching Connor Clifton in favor of Steven Kampfer on defense.
Kevan Miller (knee) and John Moore (shoulder) missed their sixth game of the season due to lingering injuries from last spring, while Par Lindholm, David Backes and Clifton were healthy scratches for the Bruins.
Prior to the game, the Bruins held a moment of applause and celebration for former blue liner, Ted Green, who died on Oct. 8 at the age of 79.
Shortly after being on the receiving end of an open-ice hit from Kampfer, Ducks defender, Michael Del Zotto slashed Bruins forward, Brett Ritchie, and was charged with a minor infraction at 4:10 of the first period.
Eight seconds into the ensuing power play, Pastrnak (3) scored with a one-timer on a pass from Bergeron from the faceoff dot to Gibson’s right side.
Boston cycled the puck from the initial faceoff, which led to Pastrnak’s appearance in the open for the goal.
Bergeron (4) and Torey Krug (2) had the assists on the goal at 4:18 and the Bruins led, 1-0.
Late in the period, Bergeron slashed Ondrej Kase and was sent to the penalty box with a minor at 17:16. Anaheim did not convert on the resulting power play.
Heading into the first intermission, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and in shots on goal, 11-8. The B’s also held the advantage in takeaways (1-0), giveaways (4-3), hits (11-10) and faceoff win percentage (53-47), while both teams had four takeaways aside.
Anaheim was 0/1 on the power play after 20 minutes, while the Bruins were 1/1 on the skater advantage entering the second period.
David Krejci left the action during the first period with an undisclosed injury and did not return to the game.
Early in the middle frame, Pastrnak “tripped” Maxime Comtois and the Ducks went on the power play at 4:40 of the second period, but Anaheim wasn’t able to capitalize on the phantom call.
Moments later, Kampfer took a trip to the sin bin for a legitimate hooking penalty against Max Jones at 9:28, but again the Ducks were unsuccessful on the skater advantage.
Shortly after killing off Kampfer’s minor, Boston pounced at even strength on a rush.
Pastrnak (4) received a pass from Brad Marchand and released a one-timer past Gibson to give the B’s a two-goal lead, 2-0, at 11:38.
Marchand (4) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s second goal of the game.
About a minute later, Sam Steel was penalized for holding Joakim Nordstrom at 12:50, but the Bruins weren’t able to take advantage of their second power play of the day.
Late in the period, Rickard Rakell (2) snapped a shot wide of Charlie McAvoy and past Halak on the far side to cut Boston’s lead in half and get Anaheim on the scoreboard, 2-1, at 17:52.
Adam Henrique (1) and Cam Fowler (1) had the assists on Rakell’s goal.
A minute later, McAvoy sent the puck clear over the glass and received an automatic delay of game penalty at 18:53.
Boston would be on the penalty kill heading into the third period.
Through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins led, 2-1, on the scoreboard and were being outshot by the Ducks, 24-17– including a, 16-6, advantage in shots on goal for Anaheim in the second period alone.
The Ducks also led in blocked shots (8-4), takeaways (5-4) and hits (18-17) entering the second intermission, while Boston held the lead in giveaways (8-4) and faceoff win% (56-44).
Anaheim was 0/4 on the power play and the B’s were 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.
Pastrnak (5) scored his hat trick goal in Monday afternoon’s action off a faceoff in the attacking zone after the Ducks iced the puck.
The puck bounced off an Anaheim skater right in front of Pastrnak for the unassisted effort at 2:20 of the third period and the Bruins led, 3-1.
Almost 100 seconds later, Comtois was guilty of holding Charlie Coyle and sent to the penalty box at 3:37.
The Bruins capitalized on their third power play of the day as Marchand sent the puck through the low slot for Pastrnak (6) to redirect while getting his stick in the crease upon the puck’s entrance into the blue paint for his fourth goal of the game.
Marchand (5) and Krug (3) tabbed the assists on the power play goal at 4:34, as Boston took control of the game, 4-1.
Late in the period, Halak misplayed the puck behind his own net, leaving the goaltender defenseless as Nick Ritchie fished the loose puck to his teammate.
Henrique (2) scored while Halak struggled to get back in front of the net and the Ducks cut the lead to two goals.
Brett Ritchie’s brother on the opposing team, Nick Ritchie (2) had the only assist on Henrique’s goal at 16:08 and the Bruins still led, 4-2.
With about three minutes left in the action, Anaheim’s head coach, Dallas Eakins, pulled Gibson for the extra attacker.
Almost 90 seconds later, Eakins used his timeout after a stoppage to instruct his players what to do in the event of anything in effort to try to comeback and tie the game, but it was to no avail.
Boston’s defense stood tall and things got a little out of hand when Ryan Getzlaf lost his composure and got into a tangle with Chris Wagner after a stoppage at 19:41.
Both players received roughing minor penalties and the teams finished the game 4-on-4.
At the final horn, Halak and the Bruins picked up the, 4-2, win on home ice over the Ducks, despite trailing in shots on goal, 32-23.
Anaheim left TD Garden leading in hits (26-24), while Boston finished the afternoon leading in blocked shots (12-10) and giveaways (13-7).
Both teams were split even (50-50) in faceoff win%.
The Ducks went 0/4 on the power play, while the Bruins were 2/3 on the skater advantage.
Boston wraps up their three-game homestand (2-0-0) against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday before the Bruins travel to Toronto for a home and home series on Oct. 19th at Scotiabank Arena and Oct. 22nd at TD Garden.
It will be Boston and Toronto’s first meeting since their 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup.
Tuukka Rask picked up his first shutout of the season, while Brad Marchand had a milestone night at TD Garden in the Boston Bruins’, 3-0, victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
Rask (3-0-0, 1.33 goals against average, .957 save percentage in three games played) turned aside 31 shots out of the 31 shots he faced for his 1st shutout of the season and 46th of his career.
New Jersey netminder, Cory Schneider (0-2-0, 3.31 GAA, .897 SV% in three games played) made 29 saves on 32 shots against (.906 SV%) in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 4-1-0 (8 points) and moved into sole possession of 2nd place in the Atlantic Division, while the Devils fell to 0-3-2 (2 points) on the season and 8th place in the Metropolitan Division.
Boston also improved to 14-2-1 in their last 17 home games against New Jersey.
Kevan Miller (knee) and John Moore (shoulder) were the only Bruins skaters out of the lineup due to injury.
Meanwhile, Boston head coach, Bruce Cassidy, reinserted Brett Ritchie on the third line with Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle, while scratching David Backes in the process.
Backes joined Par Lindholm and Steven Kampfer as the B’s trio of healthy scratches in the press box.
Early in the first period, Marchand (4) gave the Bruins with the game’s first goal with a shot off from the point that deflected off of Devils defender, Damon Severson, and went past Schneider while Patrice Bergeron was screening the New Jersey goaltender.
David Pastrnak (4) had the only assist on Marchand’s goal and the B’s led, 1-0, at 3:33 of the first period.
Just past the midpoint of the opening frame, Joakim Nordstrom (1) tallied his first goal of the season in just his second game of the year since returning from injury.
Chris Wagner got a piece of the puck in the low slot, but it bounced off his stick towards Nordstrom, whereby the left winger pocketed the loose puck to give Boston a two-goal lead, 2-0, at 11:22.
Wagner (1) and Sean Kuraly (2) had the assists on Nordstrom’s goal.
Moments later, Kuraly went to the penalty box for hooking Devils forward, Miles Wood, at 15:24, but New Jersey wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing power play opportunity.
With less than 20 seconds left in the period, New Jersey defender, Mirco Mueller, was penalized for interference against Coyle and the Bruins went on their first power play of the night at 19:43.
Boston’s skater advantage, however, would extend into the second period as the B’s weren’t able to capitalize on the power play by the end of the first 20 minutes.
After one period of play, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 15-10, in shots on goal. Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-2) and hits (11-2), while New Jersey led in takeaways (5-4).
Both teams had two giveaways each and were split in faceoff win percentage, 50-50.
The Devils and B’s were both 0/1 on the power play heading into the second period.
Connor Carrick kicked things off in the middle frame with a tripping minor after the New Jersey defender brought down Karson Kuhlman at 6:12 of the second period.
Boston did not score on the ensuing skater advantage and followed things up with a penalty of their own at 9:19, as Brandon Carlo was caught behind the play and hooked Jack Hughes.
The Devils were powerless on their second power play of the night.
Midway through the second period, Pastrnak served Boston’s bench minor for a faceoff violation delay of game penalty at 13:52.
New Jersey couldn’t muster anything on the resulting skater advantage and Pastrnak was freed from the box without any issue.
Late in the period, Kyle Palmieri tripped Charlie McAvoy and was sent to the sin bin with an infraction for tripping at 18:59.
Less than 20 seconds into their third power play of the night, Boston scored as Bergeron (1) scored his first game of the season, following up on a loose puck from point blank with a backhand tap-in after Jake DeBrusk got the initial chance that rebounded.
DeBrusk (1) and Marchand (3) were credited with the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal, giving Marchand 300 assists in his career as a result.
Through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins led, 3-0, while the Devils led in shots on goal, 25-24, including a, 15-9, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.
Boston led in every other statistical category entering the second intermission, including blocked shots (8-6), takeaways (8-7), giveaways (9-4), hits (21-8) and faceoff win% (55-45).
New Jersey was 0/3 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/3 on the skater advantage heading into the third period.
Aside from Kevin Rooney going over the boards and into Boston’s bench after missing a hit on DeBrusk early in the third period, not much happened in the third period.
Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara, was penalized for holding against Nico Hischier at 11:15 of the third, but the Devils failed to capitalize on the power play yet again.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal (32-31, including an, 8-6, advantage in the third period alone), blocked shots (13-11), giveaways (10-7), hits (23-11) and faceoff win% (54-46).
New Jersey went 0/4 on the power play, while the B’s went 1/3 on special teams with the skater advantage.
Chara played in the 1,490th game of his NHL career, passing Wayne Gretzky for 23rd all time. Phil Housley is next on the list with 1,495 career NHL games played.
Rask became the first goaltender to record a shutout in Boston’s home opener since Gilles Gilbert on Oct. 11, 1979 and just the fourth netminder to do so in franchise history, while recording the most saves in a shutout performance by a Bruins goaltender in a home opener since the statistic began being tracked in the 1955-56 season.
The B’s host the Anaheim Ducks Monday afternoon in Boston’s first matinee meeting of the season, then the Tampa Bay Lightning pay their first visit to TD Garden on Thursday before the Bruins travel to Toronto for a home and home series on Oct. 19th in Toronto and Oct. 22nd in Boston.