Through the first nine games of the 2022-2023 NHL season, The Boston Bruins are the best team in hockey. Their 8-1 record puts them in sole possession of first place with 16 points, but are they as serious as they seem? Yes, they sure are.
Under first year head coach Jim Montgomery, this Bruins team has been an offensive powerhouse. In fact, they have scored the most goals (39) in the NHL this season.
It is clear that Montgomery has “freed” the Bruins to play offense all throughout the ice, and has specifically sparked some players to start off to some really hot starts.
David Pastrnak leads the team with six goals on the season, and is tied with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for the most points in the NHL with 15.
Out of the gate, Boston has been able to find Pasta in his Ovechkin-like one timer spot for some highlight goals. The line combination of Pastrnak with Taylor Hall and David Krejci has been a force with the puck, combining for 29 points on the season.
It is safe to say David Krejci has found the wingman in Taylor Hall that Bruins fans have been searching for. Taylor Hall has started the season with four goals, already supplying 20% of his goal total from last season.
This line hasn’t been perfect defensively, as Krejci is still getting used to the NHL again, but his ability to move the puck to Pastrnak and Hall will keep this line clicking at full throttle throughout the year.
Aside from the Krejci line finding early success, many other Bruins have been able to find the scoresheet thus far into the season.
There have been 14 Bruins goal scorers through their first nine games, a sign that this team isn’t relying on their top scorers to win.
Nick Foligno, who was once solely thought as a leadership presence in the locker room, has three goals and has showcased his offensive ability that was missed under the tenure of Bruce Cassidy.
A.J. Greer, an off-season acquisition from the New Jersey Devils, has three goals and two assists for a total of five points and has really impressed. Greer brings a tenacity and simplicity to his game that has made him a perfect fit in the black and gold.
Jake Debrusk has had a six point start to his campaign, a campaign in which was in question at the conclusion of last season. Debrusk looks comfortable and excited to be playing for Boston, which has shown itself on the stat sheet. In the past, Debrusk has been a streaky player for the Bruins, and if he can find a way to play consistent, he will be a threat on this Bruins offense.
Good hockey teams have scoring depth. If Pastrnak, Bergeron, or Marchand can’t find the back of the net one night, this team has shown that there are players behind them to step up. This 8-1 start has brought to light the diverse stretch of offense this team can produce.
Out of the gate, the Bruins scored 16 goals in their first three contests and definitely got too offensive-minded. On October 18th against the young yet skillful Ottawa Senators, Boston was hit with a reality check after allowing seven goals that both ends of the ice needed to be played.
Since then, the Bruins defense has stepped it up, allowing six goals in their following five games, a number that should win them just about every game this season.
That Ottawa game was sloppy. Missed coverages, bad spacing, and little to no awareness in the defensive zone. Now, the Bruins defensive core is blocking shots, making solid body contact, and adding an edge of toughness to their game that makes them hard to play against.
Connor Clifton, Hampus Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk, and Derek Forbort have been very solid at the blue line. And, what’s scary is that Charlie McAvoy is yet to return from injury.
The Bruins are showing they can win with offense as well as defense, a trait that few teams have in the league.
Linus Ullmark has had a Vienza-like start to his season, coming up huge in most of his starts this year. His save percentage of .945 is the best start by a Bruins goaltender since 2010 when Tim Thomas started 6-0 with a .984 save percentage. Quite simply, if Ullmark is able to allow just two goals a game, this Bruins team will not have any problems against teams in this league with their ability to score goals. Having Jeremy Swayman with Ullmark is a very strong tandem that should last the Bruins the entirety of the season.
Will the Bruins keep this up? Probably not. It’s unrealistic to think they are going to win every game. But they are for real, and the National Hockey League needs to be on lookout for the black and gold.