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Boston Bruins ‘Happy’, But ‘Not Satisfied’ With Historic October

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It was highly appropriate that the Boston Bruins capped off an incredibly successful month of October with a fifth straight victory that pushed them to an impressive 8-1-0 record to start the season. It’s the first time in the organization’s Original Six history that the B’s have 16 points through the first nine games of the season, and a much better start than many anticipated with Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy missing and injured to begin the season.

Charlie Coyle had a shorthanded goal in Boston’s 4-0 victory over Columbus on Friday night and admitted the Boston Bruins are “happy”, but not satisfied, with an opening month that has them atop both the Atlantic Division and NHL standings (NHL-best plus-18 goal differential).

“It’s a great start. I don’t know if a lot of people expected us to have the record that we have now. But it doesn’t matter,” said Coyle, who was one of seven different B’s players with a point in the win over the Blue Jackets. “We know what’s in here, the guys we have, the guys that can fill in, and take responsibility. That’s a great sign for a team with a few key guys out.

“We’re pretty happy but we want to keep pushing here. We’re never satisfied. This doesn’t get us in the playoffs, this doesn’t give us a championship. It’s a good start, yeah, but we’ve got to keep pushing and playing the right way. I think that’s why we’re getting success.”

The start was so good that the Boston Bruins got the entire weekend off from practice and held their annual Halloween party with some pretty amazing costumes, including my personal favorite with Anton Stralman as Dr. Evil.

Amazingly, it’s been very spread out offensively across the Boston Bruins roster when you get past the 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in nine games for David Pastrnak. Patrice Bergeron is similarly a point-per-game player for the Black and Gold, but after that it’s been a group effort with Nick Foligno, Coyle, AJ Greer and Jake DeBrusk all tied for third in the league in goals (three). And it’s been about team defense and stellar goaltending from Linus Ullmark, who has seized the goalie reins early in the season and stands undefeated 6-0-0 with a 1.70 goals against average and a .945 save percentage to start the season.

Ullmark joins select company in Tiny Thompson, Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask as the only Boston Bruins goaltenders to start out 6-0-0 opening a season after stopping 30 pucks in Friday night’s shutout effort vs. the Blue Jackets.

“It’s unreal how comfortable I am standing behind the bench. We’re giving up odd-man rushes, there’s guys open on the back door and you’re not even worried because you just expect our goalies to make saves,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “It’s a very comforting feeling as a coach behind the bench.”

The scary news is that the Boston Bruins could, and should, be even better as Marchand returns to being a full-time player this week after finding his way into the lineup for one home win at TD Garden last week. And Charlie McAvoy’s return is probably only a couple of weeks off at this point to make the NHL’s hottest team deeper, better and more complete as they enter the time of the hockey season where playoff positions really begin to become cemented.

That’s a scary thought for the rest of the Eastern Conference, but an intriguing one to a Boston Bruins team that’s on a big time roll right now.

 

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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