Four Takeaways From Bruins’ Bounce-Back Win Vs. Blues

The Bruins are undefeated at TD Garden


November 8, 2022

It didn’t take long for the Bruins to get back in the win column.

After Saturday’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston returned to TD Garden and beat the struggling St. Louis Blues 3-1. Donning the Pooh Bear reverse retro jerseys for the first time this season, the Bruins were perfect on the penalty kill, scored two power-play goals and, once again, got outstanding goaltending from Linus Ullmark.

Here are four takeaways from Monday’s win.

Perfect penalty kill
Special teams played a key role for the Bruins and helped keep the Blues off the board. The B’s killed all three of the Blues’ penalties, only allowing St. Louis three shots on net during those three opportunities. Coming into Monday’s game, the Blues were ranked ninth on the power play.

“I feel like we’re pretty aggressive trying to take the passing lanes away,” Patrice Bergeron told NESN?s Andrew Raycroft after the game. “They’re talented, they’re gonna make some plays, and I felt like we blocked a lot of shots (Monday). Linus, obviously, made some great saves. Overall, that’s an area where we want to do the job, and I think it’s been going well, so we’re gonna keep that going.”

For head coach Jim Montgomery, he believes had it not been for the penalty kill, the game might have gone different.

“We have a lot of confidence in our penalty kill,” Montgomery told reporters. “I think our special teams won the game. Our power play was two-for-two, our penalty kill was three-for-three. Great work by both coaches, (Joe) Sacco and (John) Gruden.”

Ullmark continues hot start
Ullmark, once again, provided a chance for the Bruins to win in yet another strong start to move to 9-1-0 on the season. According to NHL Public Relations, the netminder tied the franchise record for most wins through the Bruins’ first 10 games. Tuukka Rask, Gerry Cheevers, Ross Brooks and Frank Brimsek also accomplished the feat.

Even before Jeremy Swayman went down with an injury, Ullmark was hot between the pipes and has carried that momentum into each game. While we’ll likely see Keith Kinkaid at some point with Swayman sidelined, the Bruins do benefit from not having many back-to-back games through December.

Ullmark’s win Monday night put him atop the league in that category while being in the top 10 in goals-against average and save percentage.

There’s something about playing at home
The Bruins have had great success on home ice, with their two losses coming on the road. Boston is 7-0-0 at TD Garden and has scored 28 goals during that stretch.

“That was the focus at the beginning of the year,” Jake DeBrusk, who had a goal in the win, told reporters. “We obviously want to be good here, and it’s just a matter of trying to get the first goal, trying to get the crowd into things, and just kind of roll over four lines.”

Four out of the Bruins’ next five games are at home.

“It’s fun playing at TD,” Trent Frederic told reporters. “I feel like we’ve always got a packed crowd, people seem like it’s a Saturday every night.”

Defense misses Derek Forbort
Forbort will miss four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his right middle finger. In Charlie McAvoy’s absence, Forbort really stepped up and was noticeable all over the ice. McAvoy, though ahead of schedule, still isn’t quite ready to return, leaving the blue line incredibly thin. Jakub Zboril was stapled to the bench in the third period, but Hampus Lindholm, who’s having a great start to the season, has stepped up even more.

“He’s always very involved,” Montgomery told reporters. “He’s just a hockey player. He’s involved physically, he’s around the puck, he comes up with loose pucks. He’s one of those guys that build momentum for us.”

Connor Clifton also has played his best hockey. He’s come very close to lighting the lamp on a few occasions, but now will take on a larger role in Forbort’s absence. The duo really solidified themselves as the second pairing before Forbort’s injury.

“Obviously we’re a man down, we’re still a man down,” Clifton told reporters. “We’re playing great team offense, defense. But obviously there’s an opportunity to play some more minutes, so that’s been good.”

If Clifton and Lindholm can continue to play at the level they have been once Forbort and McAvoy return to the lineup, the defense will be very, very dangerous.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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