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4 issues to observe throughout the Bruins’ first highway journey of the season


From Matthew Poitras’s first top-six task to fixing the ability play, this is what to search for on the West Coast journey.

Matthew Poitras. Barry Chin/The Boston Globe

For a crew in transition, the Boston Bruins may have time to bond and acquaint themselves with each other throughout their four-game journey on the West Coast.

The Bruins start their three-game-in-four-night trek via California on Thursday in San Jose. They’ll then flip their consideration to So. Cal for his or her freeway stops in Los Angeles (Saturday) and Anaheim (Sunday) earlier than closing out their swing in Chicago on Oct. 24.

Jim Montgomery’s squad sits at 2-0 within the younger season, however loads of work stays, particularly with their early 5v5 scoring struggles. Between that and Montgomery’s lineup tweaks, listed below are 4 issues to observe for the Bruins’ first highway journey of the season.

Matthew Poitras and his first top-six task

Poitras handed his coaching camp audition after incomes a well-deserved spot on the opening evening lineup. And if his first two NHL tilts are any indication, Poitras could very nicely turn out to be a long-term fixture in Boston.

The Bruins have an impending determination on Poitras earlier than his tenth profession sport. As a result of he’s not eligible for a Windfall task, GM Don Sweeney must ship their 2022 second-round choice again to juniors in the event that they don’t envision him staying round after his ninth sport.

Poitras picked up the place he left off from the preseason. Enjoying in a third-line function with Morgan Geekie and Trent Frederic for the primary two video games, the 19-year-old showcased poise, quickness and a stout playmaking skillset.

With the Bruins trying to find extra 5v5 scoring, Montgomery promoted Poitras to a top-six function at Monday’s follow. Barring any last-minute developments, Poitras will slot in the midst of Geekie and Brad Marchand on Thursday evening in San Jose.

“He canine the puck. He’s not timid in any respect and goes to the laborious areas,” Marchand advised reporters of Poitras. “If he loses it, he has a second or third effort to get it again. And that’s sometimes what makes gamers actually good on this sport is once they don’t make it the primary time, they’re capable of get it again and make it the second or third time.”

Even together with his early spark, the Bruins could have envisioned a slower ascension to a primary or second-line function for the 5-foot-11 Poitras. However Poitras’s improvement is a welcoming signal for a transitional Boston bunch.

Jake DeBrusk strikes again to his robust aspect wing.

The 2015 first-round decide moved to his off-wing late within the 2021-22 marketing campaign. Amid consistency points and his rocky relationship with former coach Bruce Cassidy, DeBrusk discovered a groove upon transferring right into a top-line function with the dynamic duo of Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

Montgomery saved DeBrusk within the top-line right-wing spot all through his first season behind the bench. Now DeBrusk finds himself again on his robust aspect wing following Montgomery’s newest line shuffling.

Come Thursday, the Edmonton native will skate alongside the dynamic pair of Czech playmakers in Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak. Between their pace, shot choice, and offensive creativity, the DeBrusk-Zacha-Pastrnak trio may present a wanted 5v5 scoring spark.

“Placing [DeBrusk] with [Zacha and Pastrnak], I believe, offers us an actual good rush line that has loads of pace and loads of creativity to it,” Montgomery mentioned to the press following Monday’s follow at Warrior Ice Area.

Within the closing season of his two-year deal, DeBrusk entered the season hoping to safe a long-term contract. He’s showcased progress and flexibility after his commerce request grew to become public practically two years in the past. He’ll have an opportunity to lift his inventory when he returns to his pure left-wing spot.

Charlie Coyle’s reunion with Trent Frederic

The Weymouth native supplied some wanted stability within the prime six throughout the first 4 video games of Boston’s first-round sequence with the Panthers.

After gelling with Marchand and DeBrusk amid greater stakes, the Bruins hoped Coyle would decide up the place he left off in an prolonged function. The trio didn’t battle per se throughout the first two video games, producing a 15-14 edge in shot makes an attempt in 14:47 of 5v5 time on ice. However the line generated fewer high quality seems across the web than Boston’s different three trios.

With Marchand transferring with Poitras and Geekie and DeBrusk transferring over with Pastrnak and Zacha, Montgomery opted to reunite Coyle and Frederic on the third line. The 2 witnessed a rotating forged on the left aspect a 12 months in the past. But, the revolving door didn’t stop Coyle and Frederic from delivering well timed secondary scoring throughout Boston’s record-breaking common season.

Be it towards opposing third traces or one of many prime two trios, Montgomery lined up Coyle and Frederic in favorable matchups.

“They’re each actually good five-on-five beneath the highest gamers. They’re each good defensively as nicely,” Montgomery mentioned to the media of Coyle and Frederic. “So if I wish to, I can match them up towards one other crew’s finest offensive line. However most significantly, the O-zone time that they play nicely collectively.”

James van Riemsdyk will transfer to the left of Coyle and Frederic. Between Frederic’s taking pictures abilities, van Riemsdyk’s net-front drive and Coyle’s puck-possession traits, the Bruins may possess a formidable third line if Montgomery offers the three an prolonged run collectively.

The seek for consistency on the ability play

In a small pattern measurement, the Bruins showcased a bit of Jekyll and Hyde on the ability play.

Neither energy play unit generated many high quality seems in Boston’s opening-night matchup towards the Blackhawks. However on an evening the place the Bruins delivered a dynamite efficiency on the penalty kill, their different particular groups unit was equally spectacular, with van Riemsdyk notching a pair of energy play markers within the 3-2 victory over the Predators.

“He’s identified for an impressive net-front [presence] his complete profession. He scored loads of objectives on the PP…I keep in mind him from Philly the place he’s across the web,” Pastrnak mentioned of van Riemsdyk. “He’s nice there. He makes actually good for the way tall he’s and the way massive a stick he’s. He makes loads of performs across the web…”

The Bruins used a handful of gamers within the net-front function on the highest power-play unit final season. However van Riemsdyk’s observe file with the Flyers and Maple Leafs made him the perfect candidate to take over these duties on the highest unit.

Nonetheless, the transitional Bruins will possible encounter their share of ups and downs with their prime unit, not less than to start out the season. They’ll at all times have a setup for Pastrnak’s blast from the face-off dot however will seek for a secondary look just like that of Patrice Bergeron’s one-timer from the bumper.

The Bruins will concentrate on bettering their 5v5 scoring over the following 4 video games. However the energy play will wish to present some extra complementary offense following their 2-for-5 evening towards Nashville.