Biggest Takeaways from Boston Bruins' Start to the 2013-14 Season
Tuukka Rask has played great, the power play is clicking and the B's look like they're going to be a tough out come April and May. All areas of emphasis seem to be going well for Boston, and youngsters Jordan Caron, Reilly Smith and Torey Krug have been big assets so far through the first two games.
But what has been the catalyst for the solid start for the Bruins? Which players have stepped up?
Here are the five biggest takeaways from the start to the Bruins' season.
Milan Lucic on Point
Milan Lucic is always an X-factor for the Bruins, and that has been the case again this season. He has three points in his first two games, including scoring the game-winning goal versus Tampa Bay.
A great start to the season was important for Lucic. Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla have kept the Bruins' No. 1 a force after the departure of Nathan Horton.
Tuukka Rask Earning His Money
Rask signed an eight-year contract extension with Boston in the offseason, and his future play was supposed to reflect that.
So far, it has.
Rask has only allowed one goal in each of his first two games and has looked like he is worth every penny that general manager Peter Chiarelli is going to pay him.
According to his official player card on the Bruins' website, Rask has made 59 saves in the first two contests and hasn't allowed a power-play goal. In the young season, his .966 save percentage and 1.00 goals-against average are good enough for third and second in the league, respectively, according to ESPN.
Power Play Is Clicking
In addition to Chara's goal, young Torey Krug scored on the power play with Chara screening Jimmy Howard in front of the net.
It'll be hard for any goalie to stop a shot from the point with a 6'9" player standing in front of him. With success like they had against the Wings, the Bruins should consider parking Chara in front of the net on the power play more often
Penalty Kill Still the Same Force
Over the past few seasons, the Bruins have always been one of the best penalty-killing teams in the league.
They have a solid goalie, great forwards in Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly and solid defense as well. So far this season, it's the same old same old.
The B's are one of five teams that have yet to surrender a power-play goal, according to ESPN. Rask has been great, and the forwards in front have been better. Kelly scored on a short-handed penalty shot to open up the season, and Bergeron added another shorty later in the game.
The Associated Press (via Yahoo!) reported that, according to Elias Sports Bureau, "it was the first time a team has gotten its first goal of the year from a penalty shot."
When you're a plus-two while short-handed, things are all right.
New Division Isn't All Bad
The B's are in the new Atlantic Division, and their new divisional opponents are the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings.
As mentioned earlier, both of their wins have come against new divisional foes.
The B's opened up the year with a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay and followed with a 4-1 drubbing of Detroit.
Because the Bruins are opening the year with three straight home games, it is important to take advantage of not having to travel. So far, they have held serve in Beantown.
Detroit figures to be the stiffest competition among the new opponents, and while it is only one win, the B's can take confidence from it, especially because of how well their power play performed against a solid team coached by Mike Babcock.
The Bruins' next divisional game is Monday, Oct. 14 against Detroit (at home again). Their first road test comes three days later in South Florida against old netminder Tim Thomas and the Panthers.