The very early stages of the Boston Bruins’ 2017-18 regular season hasn’t been the best it can be. Following a solid 4-3 victory over the 2017 Western Conference Champions, the Nashville Predators, in their home and season opener, the Bruins took part in a home-and-home battle with the Colorado Avalanche.
Two goals in the first and two goals in the third for the Avalanche lead them to a 4-0 shutout win over the black and gold in the TD Garden. The two newest prospects to play in the NHL for the Bruins, Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork both finished the night with a -3 rating, the worst on the team for the night. Two days later, the Bruins would play the Avs’ again, this time in Denver.
The second meeting went a bit better than the first. The game started off rough once again, as Alexander Kerfoot opened the scoring, only for Brad Marchand to tie it at one apiece. However, the second period was all Colorado. Three consecutive goals by the home team, including another one from Nail Yakupov, his third against the Bruins already this season. Boston would come back somewhat in the third though. As Tim Schaller and Torey Krug lit the lamp less than a minute-and-a-half apart from each other, bringing the game to within just a single goal.
Boston would then pull goaltender Anton Khudobin, (Tuukka Rask was pulled following the second period), allowing Colorado to score two empty-net goals to solidify a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins.
Now the Bruins get a three-day break, continuing their early season Western-conference trip against the Arizona Coyotes.
Even though the B’s have struggled early, the Coyotes have done worse. Starting the year off with a 0-3-1 record, Arizona lost twice to the 31st NHL franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights by scores of 2-1 and 5-2. The Desert Dogs also added losses to the Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings.
The struggles for Arizona come after an offseason full of new faces. Adding players such as Jason Demers, Antti Raanta, Derek Stepan, and Niklas Hjalmarsson while losing key players like Mike Smith (trade), Shane Doan (retirement), and Connor Murphy (trade). The Coyotes, however, have a fairly young average age, at 25.3 years throughout the team. Younger than the Bruins’ of 26.9 years.
Boston will be dealing with the same injuries, including F Patrice Bergeron who did not practice with the team during Friday’s practice, making the chance of him playing against Arizona this weekend decrease.
Although he did skate briefly near the end of practice.
HC Cassidy also released more information regarding other injured players.
D Kevan Miller took a shot to the knee during the practice, but Cassidy claims it isn’t too serious.
Bruce also said that F David Backes is making improvements following his diagnosis with diverticulitis.
A win over the Arizona Coyotes is more important than it may seem. Three straight losses to teams that finished in the basement of the NHL standings last season could lower the confidence levels of some players heading into the first ever regular season game against the Golden Knights.
Also, if DeBrusk and Bjork have another rough outing, a possible demotion may be in the future, unless the Bruins management is willing to take a chance on teaching the prospect in the big leagues.
A win for backup goalie Anton Khudobin could raise his self-confidence as he looks to keep his backup job into the coming years.
One thing to keep in mind is that it is still extremely early in the season. Too early to begin to give up or down the team. Still, late in the season, those early wins or losses can become crucial to whether or not the team makes the playoffs that season.
The game begins at 9:00pm EST in Glendale, Arizona inside the Gila River Arena.
Once the game with Arizona concludes, the Bruins head to Las Vegas to face the Vegas Golden Knights at 7:00pm EST in the T-Mobile Arena. Boston then begins a four-game homestand against the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks, and Los Angeles Kings.