There is still plenty left to break in, such as the first goals and first points for the better part of the top six and top nine forwards, respectively. But Saturday’s 3-1 win over the New York Rangers and Monday afternoon’s 2-1 shootout triumph over the Winnipeg inevitably yield more to build upon than not.
As the Bruins pack for their first road game in a Wednesday night rematch with the Rangers, here are five statistical ice chips worth picking up in the wake of their opening weekend. Given that they took the maximum allotment of four points in the standings and also gave one to the opposition, we shall assess four pluses and one area in stark need of more work.
Power-play goals on a total of nine chances and 12 shots on goal. The better part of those vain attempts, namely nine shots over a span of seven man-up segments, came against the ordinarily stingy Rangers, but a goose-egg on the ostensible advantage is just that.
Of the 22 NHL teams who have played two games so far, only the Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings―who are now lacking exemplary two-way defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom―have yet to convert a power play. Only six teams out of 30 total have not converted yet.
Two games down and 46 to go means there is ample time to thaw out that frost and improve one of the team’s most well-documented shortcomings. But that improvement is better sooner than later.
Rask’s praetorian guards have limited the adversary to 48 shots on goal through two games, ranging between four and 12 in a given 20-minute period. As it happens, those two extremes came in Monday’s second and third stanzas, and Rask responded to the various bouts of inactivity and intensity with equal perfection.
The Bruins kept the Jets off the shot clock for precisely 14 consecutive minutes of playing time between 11:44 of the first and 5:44 of the second. All of that was long after Winnipeg had scored its lone regulation goal less than two minutes into the action.
Later, during the fourth minute of the closing frame, Rask repelled three unanswered shots via Alexander Burmistrov (twice) and Dustin Byfuglien in a span of 11 seconds, eventually getting a whistle on Burmistrov’s second try.
Opposing penalties apiece drawn by Rask and winger Nathan Horton. In Saturday’s and Monday’s action, Rask drew a minor for goaltender interference on the Rangers’ Brian Boyle and the Jets’ Evander Kane, respectively.
Meanwhile, Horton drew a “regular” interference infraction on Carl Hagelin when the season was 19 seconds old. He later put Winnipeg on the penalty kill for the first time in Monday’s game with Mark Stuart committing the same misdeed.
Rask’s rare feat can be taken as more of a fluke, but in addition to ultimately restoring his productive rhythm, the long-idled Horton can be invaluable by habitually flustering enemy backcheckers.
Takeaways by Brad Marchand, two on Saturday and three on Monday. In all, Marchand and linemate and fellow third-year winger Tyler Seguin account for seven of the Bruins’ first 13 steals, one of which was made by Seguin en route to setting up Marchand’s vital goal on Monday.
Marchand logged 40 takeaways in 76 games played last season and 36 in 77 outings as a rookie in 2010-11. His pace for 120 in 48 games this season will surely taper off, but he could still set a career high even in a condensed campaign if he maintains a healthy aggression.
The prized budding blueliner Hamilton saw his ice time swell up from 13:40 on opening night to 23:27 on Monday, when in addition to three hits, he chalked up six attempted shots (three on net) and blocked a Winnipeg bid.
Bourque finished second to Milan Lucic (10) among the Boston forwards with five hits against the Jets. That could be a hint that he is embracing his transition from the top of an AHL scoring chart to the third line on an NHL depth chart.