Takeaways from the Bruins’ shootout loss to the Flyers

Mar 21, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in goal during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in goal during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

On Friday night, the Boston Bruins entered their third preseason looking to pick up their second win; however, it wasn’t meant to be as they fell to the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-3 in the shootout.

While it was a loss, were it the regular season, they would have been able to pick up a point still. Here are some takeaways from last night’s game that the Bruins can use going into Monday’s rematch with the Flyers.

Takeaway #1 – David Pastrnak hasn’t missed a step

After setting personal records in goals, assists, and games played (plus others), David Pastrnak finally touched the ice on Friday night for the first time in the preseason. Pastrnak looked like he hadn’t missed a step.

The Czech-winger scored two goals in the losing effort, the first coming on the power play, the second when he picked the pocket of Egor Zamula who was looking to pass the it up the left side, and wristed it over the right shoulder of Philadelphia goaltender Samuel Ersson, at the time helping Boston to tie the game at two goals apiece.

Pastrnak finished with two goals on the night and finished with the second-highest shots on goal of anyone on the team with three, second only to Georgii Merkulov with four, which brings me to my next takeaway.

Takeaway #2 – Merkulov may have taken any chances Matthew Poitras had of making the roster

While neither was able to score a goal on Friday night, Merkulov not only tied the team lead with four shots on goal, he did get on the board with an assist.

By taking four shots on goal and playing solidly on a line with Matthew Poitras, and Danton Heinen. On that line, only one of those three scored a goal – and it wasn’t Poitras. It was Heinen who is vying to make the team following his PTO.

Poitras finished the game with only one shot on goal in the game. And while assistant coach Joe Sacco said he played well, his lack of production on a line that he could have excelled on, may have spelled the end of his run with the Bruins, and he very well could be on his way back to the OHL by the end of the weekend.

Takeaway #3 – Linus Ullmark may need more time in net before the season starts

While he made the most saves of any Boston netminder this preseason with 31, and was able to hold his own on four of five power play chances including one in overtime.

However, when it came down to brass tax, Ullmark allowed two shootout goals on the first two attempts on net by the Flyers, and the Bruins were unable to score at all. Just like that, the game was over.

It’s not likely that Ullmark gets another full start until maybe the last game of the preseason, as the only goaltender that is yet to make an appearance is Jeremy Swayman. Maybe, that is Boston tipping its hand on who will be starting on opening night against the Chicago Blackhawks, maybe not. Watch for him to get some game action on Monday.

Takeaway #4 – Mason Lohrei is continuing to make life difficult for Don Sweeney

Going into the preseason, Mason Lohrei did not have high expectations and was expected to play in a game or two, and then be sent down to be with the Providence Bruins in their camp.

Instead, in his second preseason game, Lohrei may not have been the minutes eater he was in Tuesday’s game, he continued to play well and make life difficult on Don Sweeney and co. by playing well in a different way on Friday night.

While his name didn’t show up on any offensive categories like it did on Tuesday night, he proved himself to be a valuable defender. The six-foot-five-inch defenseman was second on the team in blocked shots, and was tied for the top spot of all defenseman. Tied with who? Oh… Only Charlie McAvoy.

Takeaway #5 – The special teams still looks solid, but power play needs work

Through three games, the Bruins’ special teams is proving to be more special than originally though and that will be key throughout the season for them to stay that way.

Boston penalty kill has been nearly perfect, killing off 13 out of a total 14 opposing man-advantages with the only goal coming on Tuesday night. The power play, however, has been stifled a bit so far.

In six chances, the man-advantage unit was only able to convert once and it wasn’t its chance in overtime when they had the 4-on-3 advantage. All in all, they have converted on two out of a total 10 chances. Part of this could be due to the fact that the every day units are not in game action together, but on the bright side they have forced opposing goalies to make 16 saves – giving them a total of 18 shots on goal.

What’s next?

The Bruins are back in action on Monday, October 2 when they complete their home-and-home with Philadelphia. This time they will be at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia – puck drop nationally is at 7:00 p.m. on NBC Sports, and locally on NESN.