It’s been an interesting first month for the B’s as they stand at 5-4 entering a huge divisional matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night in Florida. Here are my studs and duds for October:
Tuukka Rask: His numbers speak for themselves: 5-0-0, 1.20 Goals Against Average and a sparkling 0.961 save percentage. He has elevated the Bruins this season especially in his last two starts against division opponents. He looks good in his positioning and looks every bit as much as the goalie who won the Vezina Trophy back in 2014. Obviously the B’s need more out of their backups, but right now it’s all about Tuukka time.
Brad Marchand: The Little Ball of Hate has captivated the NHL with his great start. He picked up 5 points in his first game and has 11 points in 9 games overall. He has transformed from a scrappy fourth line player to an offensive weapon that was on full display last night as he scored on a penalty shot against the Panthers. The scary thing about it is he is still getting better and if continues on this pace he might be in the MVP discussion.
Brandon Carlo: The Bruins young defenseman already looks like a pro as he has beautifully transitioned to the NHL game. His steady play has improved the play of his defense partner Zdeno Chara to the point where they can be relied upon to be a shutdown pair. Carlo is already logging significant minutes on the penalty kill and looks incredibly comfortable out there. He might be the young defenseman the Bruins have searched desperately for since the departure of Dougie Hamilton and figures to be a huge part of the future of the team.
Tim Schaller, Dominic Moore, David Backes
Matt Beleskey/Jimmy Hayes: Both of these guys have been so bad, it was impossible to choose just one of them. Both of them combined have zero points and sport an awful -14 plus/minus and have had almost no impact on the team at all. Hayes dropped the gloves last night which may have been the most productive thing he’s done all season. Beleskey hasn’t built off of last year’s solid campaign and simply looks lost on the ice. As much as these guys have been bad, Claude Julien hasn’t done anything to improve the situation such as jumbling the lines or benching players for their lack of performance.
Danton Heinen: One of the young guys the Bruins were so excited about hasn’t performed at all so far with no points through his first seven games. He’s seemed slow on his skates and even playing with Marchand and Bergeron didn’t help his play. The Bruins sent him down to Providence today and hope that he improves enough to eventually come back to the big club, but for now the B’s should look to other options.
The Backup Goalies: The Bruins had a goalie crisis on the worst level last week as both Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin went down with injuries. The performances of Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre didn’t help as both of them got lit up in horrible losses to the Wild and Rangers respectively. Both struggled to find their footing and didn’t look comfortable in net. It couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start as both of them looked equally terrible, but hopefully if Khudobin gets back soon the B’s won’t have to worry about another crisis.
Torey Krug, Riley Nash, Joe Morrow