The Bruins are winners of two straight after a 3-0 victory over the Flyers on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden thanks to two goals from Marc McLaughlin and two from Johnny Beecher.
Boston moves to 2-1 in the preseason, while Philadelphia falls to 1-3.
You can check out the full box score here.
ONE (OR SOME) BIG TAKEAWAYS
McLaughlin is making the most of the preseason.
The forward had two goals in the win and continued to make his case for a spot in the bottom six of the lineup. He helped generate the offense in the second period after a lousy first (more on that in a minute) and had a great second-chance effort in the third to give the Bruins some insurance. There are more players than spots open when Opening Night rolls around, but McLaughlin is going to make Jim Montgomery think long and hard about who goes to Providence.
However, the offense as a whole needs to find a way to generate more scoring opportunities.
The Bruins had the open ice to do so, but the Flyers were all over them in terms of scoring chances after the first period when Philly outshot its opponent 8-2. Some of that, though, is that the Flyers shut down a lot of the Bruins’ breakout attempts and shut down their passing lanes. Turnovers also were a problem for the B’s through the first 20 minutes. The Flyers’ forecheck proved to be a bit too powerful.
Boston finally generated some offense in the second period with 12:50 to go by keeping it simple. Jack Ahcan took the initial shot from the point and McLaughlin tipped it home on the power play.
Once McLaughlin lit the lamp, the Bruins found a jump in their step and began looking much more confident on zone entries, which is the kind of energy they need to come out with during every game. The Bruins can ill-afford to have a slow start and can’t wait for a goal or a fight for some energy to be jolted into them.
While it was optimistic to see a strong response from the B’s after an ugly first period, they’re not always going to go into the first intermission tied at zero and don’t want to find themselves in a hole they can’t dig themselves out of.
As we saw so many times last season, there usually was one-too-many passes between skaters. If someone has an open opportunity to shoot, the Bruins have to capitalize on that.
Fabian Lysell certainly showed flashes of what he is capable of, especially in the offensive zone, but he may not be quite ready for NHL action yet. The 19-year-old naturally will go through growing pains as he gets his game ready for the big-league level. While the Bruins were on the power play, Lysell turned the puck over and ended up committing a hooking penalty. It’s to be expected that Lysell will make some mistakes along the way, but small things like that will hurt his case in trying to make the roster out of camp.
Lysell, though, showed great flashes of his ability to find open ice. He’ll need to learn to pace himself but some time in Providence will do him some good.
His night ended prematurely, though, after he was on the wrong end of a Rasmus Ristolainen hit that sent him down the tunnel in the second period. He never returned.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Pavel Zacha is going to be just fine with the Bruins.
After never quite reaching his ceiling with the New Jersey Devils, many wondered he’d fare with a team that’s used to having success — especially if he’s going to be playing on the top line in Brad Marchand’s absence. Zacha wasn’t afraid of strong play along the boards in the attacking zone and generated some good chances in dirty areas around the net.
The forward also had an assist on McLaughlin’s goal.
— Nick Wolff is fighting for a spot on the Bruins’ blue line and he put himself in the conversation in the second period.
Nick Foligno landed a clean hit on Zack MacEwen, who responded by cross-checking Foligno. Wolff wasted no time jumping in and dropping the gloves before taking down MacEwen in the neutral zone.
With Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk out to start the season, there are some open spots on defense. Jakub Zboril figures to fill one of those roles after Jim Montgomery called him a “top-five player” in camp, and with Connor Clifton continuing to be a penalty liability on the ice, Wolff could push him out of the lineup. Boston desperately was missing physicality last year and players standing up for their own teammates, but Wolff showed he’s not afraid to drop the gloves when he sees fit.
— Jake DeBrusk was all over the ice Saturday and arguably was the Bruins’ best player through two periods. You always knew when he was on the ice, he showcased his speed constantly and nearly made it a 2-0 game in the second period. The forward may be playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after enduring what he did last season, and he is out to prove Boston not only is where he belongs but where he wants to be.
— It’s unclear what the future holds for Chris Wagner, but he certainly is leaving an impact in the preseason.
The forward finished with eight hits Saturday.
— Beecher added two goals of his own — one an empty-netter — as he continued to prove that he’s grown his game.
The moneyline for the Bruins was -260 at puck drop, while the Flyers were +200. A $100 bet on Boston would have paid you $176.92 and a $100 bet on Philly would pay out $300.
UP NEXT ON NESN
The Bruins continue their slate of preseason games Monday night when they travel to New Jersey to take on the Devils. Puck drop from Prudential Center is set for 7 p.m. on NESN+.