The Boston Bruins finally got back in action with their second game of the season Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
While the longer layoff probably didn’t help the Bruins much in terms of trying to get into a groove, they still did not play their best hockey.
Here are a few takeaways from Wednesday’s loss.
Jeremy Swayman was bound to have a bad game
Swayman caught the attention of many when he entered the NHL unexpectedly last season with his strong play, confidence and poise. The rookie also had a strong start in Boston’s 3-1 season opening win against the Dallas Stars but he had his worst start Wednesday.
He gave up five goals on 24 shots and certainly wasn’t at his best. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy gave a blunt assessment of Swayman’s performance, saying that they needed more from him. It’s nothing to dwell on considering he was bound to have a bad start at some point during his career.
Swayman will have to wait to try to rebound from his outing. Linus Ullmark will make his Bruins debut against his former Buffalo Sabres team on Friday night.
Brad Marchand cannot be stopped
Marchand has turned into an elite player and scorer and has cleaned up his act along the way. He’s come far from his younger days in the NHL and has been a valuable piece to the Bruins’ core. Marchand had two goals against Dallas and tallied his third of the season against the Flyers — a game-tying goal –to bring his total to three in two games.
Could this be the season Marchand finally hits the 40-goal mark? It’s much too soon to say, but it will be a possibility if he stays healthy and continues to find opportunities to score.
The Bruins had trouble with Joel Farabee, Cam Atkinson and Derick Brassard
The trio has been an incredibly productive line for the Flyers, and that trend continued Wednesday when they combined for six points in the win. There’s no denying the talent of Atkinson, Farabee and Brassard, but it was as if the Bruins forgot how to defend when they were on the ice.
Speaking of defense
Maybe putting Derek Forbort with Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing isn’t the best idea. We don’t want to ax anything right away so early on in the season, but McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk just play better together. Cassidy made the switch from Forbort to Grzelcyk early in the game, so he clearly wasn’t liking what he saw.
It ended up paying off, as McAvoy connected with Taylor Hall on a slick pass that led to a goal for Boston.
Forbort is a big, physical player that certainly will benefit the Bruins. But it’s just hard to mess with chemistry. Forbort will help block shots and be effective on the penalty kill, but he’s just not a top-pairing D-man.
The Flyers could give the Bruins problems this season
The two teams won’t meet again until November, but the Bruins will need to clean up some things if they want to seek revenge on their division rival. The Flyers beat Boston twice in the preseason and took the first meeting between them.