The Boston Bruins (1-1-1, 3 pts) are set to take the ice for undoubtedly the strangest home opener in franchise history in front of a fan-less TD Garden Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers (3-1-0) at 7 PM ET (NESN, NBCSP, TVAS, Sportsnet).
“It’ll be unfortunate because we’re used to coming out, you know, the songs that are playing or the crowd’s behind you,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after practice Wednesday. “I think it’s really helped us in the past. But obviously, we won’t have that.”
This is the first of a two-game set against the Flyers for the Bruins that concludes on Saturday at the Garden before they host the Pittsburgh Penguins next Tuesday and Thursday.
– What’s also strange for the Boston Bruins, even for a team constantly searching for secondary scoring, is that the defending President’s Trophy winners are yet to score an even-strength goal through three games in this 56-game 2021 season. To be exact, they’ve gone 189 minutes and 58 seconds without scoring 5-on-5. Through their first three games of this COVID-shortened 56-game season, the Bruins have two goals on the powerplay and one shorthanded goal. They lit the lamp three times in regulation in a 3-2 shootout win over and 2-1 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. They then got shutout 1-0 by the New York Islanders to conclude their season-opening road trip.
‘This is also the B’s first time going three straight games without an even-strength goal since the final three games of their second-round series against the Lightning in 2018. The Bruins scored five goals over the final three games of that series (all losses), with four power-play tallies and a shorthanded strike.
It’s been a staggering 14 (14!!!) years since the Bruins went this long without an even-strength goal in the regular season, too, having last gone through a similar run of agony in Mar. 15 through Mar. 20, 2007’
– After going 2-for-5 on the powerplay in the 3-2 shootout win in the season opener last Thursday, the Bruins are 0-for-5 on the man advantage in their last two games.
– The Bruins penalty kill has been perfect thus far as they have killed all 13 powerplays they’ve faced in the first three games.
“It keeps you in games. We seemed to have a lot of calls go against us and at the end of the day they killed them. You need to do that, especially if you’re not scoring,” Cassidy said after the 1-0 loss to the Islanders Monday. “It was big [Saturday] night in Jersey and helped us get a point and it kept us in the game [on Monday]. You’d like to see your power play come through in a game like that but give [the Islanders] credit.
But I’m pleased with the PK. Those young ‘D’ are battling hard and settling in nicely. It’s only been three games, but they seem comfortable both [Zboril] and [Lauzon]. So that’s a plus.”
– Brad Marchand leads the Bruins in points with a goal and two assists. Patrice Bergeron and Nick Ritchie have also lit the lamp for the Bruins.
– Boston Bruins forward Ondrej Kase (upper-body) will not play against the Flyers and is out indefinitely. David Pastrnak practiced with contact on Wednesday but remains on long-term injury reserve.
– After watching his team get thumped 6-1 by the Buffalo Sabres Monday, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault shuffled the decks and found some chemistry on his second line in a 3-0 bounce-back win the next night. Vigneault slid Nolan Patrick between Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny and the trio clicked for the Flyers’ first goal as Konecny lit the lamp with Lindblom and Patrick getting the helpers. They combined for the most minutes of the Flyers’ four forward lines.
– The Flyers have scored 15 goals and are tied for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals for the most lamplighters thus far. They’ve allowed 11 goals. Konecny leads the team with four goals and two assists, while Dorchester, MA native Kevin Hayes has two goals and three assists.
– The Flyers are 4-for-15 on the powerplay and have killed off 15 of 19 powerplays they’ve faced.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jake DeBrusk
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Jack Studnicka
Anders Bjork – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Trent Frederic – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Jakub Zboril – Kevan Miller
Philadelphia Flyers Lines
Joel Farabee – Kevin Hayes – Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom – Nolan Patrick – Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk – Morgan Frost – Claude Giroux
Michael Raffl – Scott Laughton – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov – Travis Sanheim
Erik Gustafsson – Philippe Myers
Robert Hägg – Justin Braun