How Long Can the Bruins Survive Without Pastrnak?

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 25: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins acknowledges the fans after the 2020 NHL All-Star Game between the Atlantic Division and Pacific Division at the Enterprise Center on January 25, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 25: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins acknowledges the fans after the 2020 NHL All-Star Game between the Atlantic Division and Pacific Division at the Enterprise Center on January 25, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Coming into the season, the Boston Bruins knew that David Pastrnak was going to miss some time recovering from hip surgery he underwent in September. It was expected that the Bruins might struggle out of the gate without any preseason games and finding the right combination with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the first line.

Through three games, the Bruins have failed to score a goal even strength and it is even somewhat of a miracle they head home for tonight’s home opener against the Philadelphia Flyers at 1-1-1, in part because of their power play and penalty killing.

This season is one that is like one we have never seen before and hopefully never will again. Realigned into the East Division for the shortened 56-game regular-season, only the top four of the nine teams in the division will make the playoffs. Given the fact that the division has a handful of Stanley Cup contenders in it, finishing in the top four is not a guarantee for Boston.

Any sort of losing streak can have a big impact on whether you can stay in the playoff race for fall out and be chasing points later in the season. Even though it’s just three games into the season, the Bruins must find a way to generate more offense to stay in the hunt until Pasta comes back.

Bruins need other forwards to step up.

Let’s not kid ourselves, Pastrnak can’t solve the scoring issues all by himself when he comes back, but he can play a big part in helping to jump-start the offense. Not only has he become one of the top goal scorers in the league, but he has also done just as good of a job setting up teammates for success as well.

Marchand has led the offense in the first three games with one goal and two assists on all three goals the team has scored. He is also responsible for the game-winning shootout goal in New Jersey against the Devis on opening night. Nick Ritchie has been a shooting machine early in the season with one goal on 11 shots on net. It would also benefit the Bruins is Craig Smith and Jake DeBrusk can add some scoring with Marchand.

After that, it has become frustrating for the Black and Gold when it comes to putting the puck in the net. Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood made 27 saves Saturday in a 2-1 overtime win for NJ, while Monday night, New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov made 27 stops himself in a 1-0 Isles victory.

The Bruins’ effort was better on Monday, but it was all for not after losing on a late third-period goal. Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have done their part in the Boston net in keeping them in each game, but the big problem for the Bruins is putting the puck in the net.

David Pastrnak is the most gifted goal-scorer that the Bruins have, but he can’t do it alone when he returns. His return date is mid-February, but that could be sooner as coach Bruce Cassidy said that he is ahead of schedule in his return.

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The sooner Pasta is eligible to come back, the better, but the big question in the meantime is if the Bruins can start scoring enough to win some games and not fall into too deep of a hole early in the season that might be too tough to climb out of. The season is just three games old, but in a short sprint of an NHL season, any type of losing streak or failure to get points on a nightly basis could be tough to make up in the long run.