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Boston Bruins Season 21/22

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Corey Abbott
August 27, 2021, 11:14 am ET
Updated On: August 29, 2021, 11:09 am ET






2020-21 Record: 33-16-7, 73 points

Result: Third in the East Division. Lost 4-2 to the New York Islanders in the second round.


Significant Gains: Linus Ullmark, Nick Foligno, Erik Haula, Tomas Nosek, Derek Forbort


Significant Losses: David Krejci, Nick Ritchie, Jeremy Lauzon


Strengths: Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron remains the strongest part of the roster.


They account for most of the team’s offensive production, while matching up against the top players on the opposition. The Bruins also excel as a group defensively. Charlie McAvoy had an outstanding year from the back end at both ends of the ice. Boston tied for the fourth-best goals against per game (2.39) and had the second-best penalty kill (86.0%) during the 2020-21 campaign.


Weaknesses: The Bruins have a big hole to fill on the second line following the departure of Krejci, who has decided to continue his playing career in the Czech Republic. He has been the steadiest source of production beyond the first line for the team for a while now. 


Taylor Hall and Craig Smith brought some much-needed secondary scoring last season, while offseason additions Foligno and Haula could occupy middle-six forward spots. Charlie Coyle is considered the early favorite to center the second combination. Still, depth up front and on the back end remain question marks for Boston entering the year.


Player to Watch: Coyle has sleeper potential if he cements his spot on the second line, but all eyes will be on Ullmark between the pipes going into the 2021-22 campaign. He was signed to a four-year contract by Boston because of the uncertainty surrounding Tuukka Rask, who is currently an unrestricted free agent and had offseason hip surgery. Ullmark has been a bright spot for the lowly Buffalo Sabres over the past two seasons and stands a good chance to make a big impact for the Bruins, while teaming up with Jeremy Swayman.

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DWWean/NHLI via Getty Images


Take a quick look at the Bruins current roster and one thing that might jump out at you: the Bruins have a lot of freakin’ centers.

Besides the guys returning from last year who can play in the middle of the ice (Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle, Curtis Lazar, Trent Frederic, and Jack Studnicka), the Bruins added centers Tomáš Nosek, Erik Haula, and occasional center Nick Foligno this summer via free agency.

With so many options at center, the question then becomes which players will get a shot to play center and which line will they play on.

Line 1

The center for the first line is an absolute no-brainer, and requires very little to be written on it.

Bergeron will be centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak when the season begins. End of story.

Line 2

While there are a few options here to fill David Krejci’s old spot, it looks like Boston’s 2C to start the year will most likely be Coyle.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy already alluded to bumping Coyle up from the third line in August when asked about who would be his second line center.

“The obvious choice is Charlie Coyle,” he said at the time. “He’s the most familiar with our guys and I’m the most familiar with him.”

And while there is no guarantee this will happen as the Bruins have yet to start training camp and chemistry could form between Taylor Hall, Craig Smith, and another center, Coyle appears to be the guy at the moment.


If this is true, the Bruins will need a big bounce-back season from Coyle. Last year, he was not the player that he was in the 2018-19 playoffs or during the 2019-2020 season.

After the season ended, we did learn that Coyle had been playing a bad knee all year, an injury that required two surgeries this summer.

To date, Coyle has never had such a prominent role as he appears slated to have this season. The pressure is certainly on for Coyle to produce.

Coyle is a solid playoff performer when the games matter most, so hopefully this is an indication that he can perform under the scrutiny he’ll face in 2021-22.

Line 3

This is where the uncertainty begins for the Bruins.


The Bruins have at least four legitimate players who could slot in as the third-line center; however, many are predicting that Haula might get the first shot here with Nick Foligno on his wing.


In the past, 30-year-old Haula has shown some offensive punch (scoring 29 goals and 25 assists in 2017-18), and if he could find that scoring touch on the third line this year it would go a long way in making the B’s a complete hockey team.


After an knee injury in 2018-2019, however, Haula has not produced at a similar rate as that career year. Haula is still a great skater though, is sound defensively, and very strong in the faceoff circle (55.1% last season), making him the most likely candidate to center line three.

Perhaps we shouldn’t sleep on Jack Studnicka as a third-line center quite yet . Though a longshot, if Studnicka has a really strong training camp and preseason, he may be able steal this spot.


The B’s have also got to be eager to give their top pick from 2017 a shot at his natural position before too long so they can see what they really have in the kid.

Fourth line

The Bruins’ fourth line center spot probably comes down to Nosek or Lazar, and the deciding factors may be that:


  • Lazar has plenty of experience playing right wing in the NHL, while Nosek doesn’t have as much experience on the wing.
  • Nosek is a much better face-off man (career numbers: Nosek 52.6% vs Lazar 46.4%).

Nosek is also coming off of a career year in Vegas (8 goals and 10 assists in 38 games), so the Bruins may want to continue to see if Nosek grows at center.


The very long shot for fourth-line center is Frederic.


Frederic was drafted by the Bruins as a center, but in his limited time in the NHL so far, he’s played mostly on the wing.

You can expect the same to happen this season, unless injuries bite the Bruins down the middle.


Despite having a plethora of center options, there are many Bruins fans wondering if Boston still needs to find a bona-fide 2C.

Coyle’s performance last year has many people doubting if he or any of the other centers (not named Bergeron) are good enough to lead the 2nd line.


The departure of Krejci has left very big shoes to fill, and the Bruins may have to look outside the organization to fill them.


Complicating matters is the fact that if a deal is done to bring in another center, the Bruins would have even more centers on the roster; one would likely have to be moved in the deal to make space in lineup and under the salary cap.


Ultimately, if another center is not brought in to Boston, this could very well come down a what Sweeney referred to as a “center by committee” situation.


In all likelihood, the guy who plays center on lines two through four could change quite frequently; however, you have to think this plan is less than ideal for a team that wants to compete for another Stanley Cup.


Edited by Brewin Flames
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The Bruins will open training camp secure in the knowledge they’ll have a lot of good NHL players.


Though we’re still waiting to see who will hold down the No. 2 center spot, the top nine forwards look strong. They should have at least six good defensemen, with some flexibility in pairings. They have the makings of a quality goalie tandem.


The six exhibition games may tell us more about the players on the fringe, and those whose NHL careers are a few years away. Those players are in focus here.


These players have fewer than 60 NHL games on their résumés and are considered prospects based on reviews of game film, live viewings, past performance, interviews with hockey personnel and other sources, statistics, and analytics:




Jack Studnicka, C/RW: Listed at 6 feet 1 inch and 171 pounds, he says he put on 15 pounds this offseason. Looks the part. Once camp drills start, Bruins would love to see signs that the 2017 second-round pick (53rd overall), who has 22 NHL games under his belt in two pro seasons, is capable of holding down a top-six center spot (recall, if you dare, that Patrice Bergeron is 36). Entry-level deal expires next summer. This season, is he better served as a spare part in Boston or an all-situations guy in Providence?


Trent Frederic, C/LW: Club wants to keep him at center, but he’s got a tough battle with fellow left-shot centers Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek sure to make the roster. Bruins protected him from the Seattle expansion draft (most other players on this list were exempt) and handed him a two-year, $2.1 million contract extension. St. Louisian could push right-shooting Curtis Lazar to fourth-line wing, or Chris Wagner out of the lineup.


Jakub Lauko, LW: Third-round pick (77th overall) from 2018 is feisty and fast with some offensive upside. Will be a key player in Providence if he doesn’t win a fourth-line job. Should be an NHL regular in two to three years.

Oskar Steen, C/RW: Small, stocky, and competitive. May not have enough offensive oomph to play center at 5-9 but could earn spot starts as a winger. Is exempt from waivers.


Jesper Froden, RW: Swedish veteran (age 27) can deliver pace on the right side. Showed intelligent two-way game and nose for the net in the Buffalo rookie tournament (four goals in two games). Looks like a better version of Karson Kuhlman, more touch with the puck and around the net. Waivers-exempt.


Anton Blidh, LW: A bit slower and heavier than Lauko, with less panache but more thump. Unlike Lauko, would have to pass through waivers.


Karson Kuhlman, RW: Plug-and-play fourth-liner. Quality substitute who can play 10 minutes a night, and sit for long stretches, sans issues.

Zach Senyshyn, RW: Bruins re-signed him for one year at the league minimum. Has not broken through. May get a better shot in another system.


Cameron Hughes, LW/RW: Slightly built (5-11, 160) and soon to be 25, looks like an AHLer.


Fabian Lysell, RW: Several years away but will get a taste of the preseason. Electric skater and playmaker. Should be a point producer for WHL Vancouver this season.




Jakub Zboril, LD: Performed well enough in 42 games last season (0-9—9) to earn a few All-Rookie votes but more veteran help on the left side (Derek Forbort, a healthy John Moore) means a job is not yet his. Was not taken in Seattle expansion draft.


Urho Vaakanainen, LD: Development of first-round pick (18th overall, 2017) appears to have stalled since 2018 arrival in North America. Not much “wow” to his game. Unless he defends harder and creates more offensively, may be a top-four fixture in Providence.


Jack Ahcan, LD: He’s even smaller than his listed 5-8, 184 pounds. That makes him a tricky evaluation for the Bruins. Does he look so dynamic because he’s so small, or is he just dynamic? Either the next Torey Krug or a future AHL All-Star.


Brady Lyle, RD: Struggled in Buffalo rookie tournament but will likely calm down. His size (6-3, 215) and shot could help the Bruins, who are light on right-side depth.


Nick Wolff, LD: Has to improve puck play to be an NHLer. Big (6-5, 230) penalty-killer type.




Kyle Keyser: Big year for 22-year-old, who earned a Bruins contract out of the Buffalo rookie tournament in 2017. Can he beat out AHL veteran Troy Grosenick for the majority of starts in Providence? Yet to play a full AHL season. Has a steep climb to full-time work in Boston with Jeremy Swayman’s emergence and Linus Ullmark’s four-year deal. Entry-level contract expires next summer.


Edited by Brewin Flames
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Bruins pre-season game #1


Jake DeBrusk and Erik Haula each scored and had a goal in the shootout to help the Boston Bruins defeat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in the preseason opener for each team at Capital One Arena in Washington on Sunday.


Garrett Pilon tied the game 2-2 at 5:26 of the third period for the Capitals.


Joe Snively gave Washington a 1-0 lead 4:15 into the first period before DeBrusk tied it 1-1 at 12:56.


Haula made it 2-1 at 1:09 of the second period.

Jeremy Swayman made 18 saves on 19 shots playing 30:11 for the Bruins. Troy Grosenick made 11 saves on 12 shots in relief.


Pheonix Copley made 12 saves on 14 shots through the second period for the Capitals. Vitek Vanecek made the save on all nine shots he faced in the third period.

Daniel Sprong scored Washington's only goal in the shootout, and Hendrix Lapierre, the No. 22 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, had two assists for the Capitals.

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Game # 1 Boston 3 Stars 1


Marchand scores 2 for Bruins in 3-1 win over Stars


Bruins start season off with a win

Boston beats the Dallas Stars 3-1 to start their NHL campaign off with a win.

Updated: 5 hours ago

BOSTON -- — Brad Marchand scored twice, Jake DeBrusk broke a tie early in the third period and the Boston Bruins opened the season with a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.


Marchand scored on a penalty shot in the first period and added an empty-netter with 1:37 left to play. Nick Foligno, Erik Haula and David Pastrnak each had assists and Jeremy Swayman stopped 27 shots for the Bruins, who never trailed.


"All in all, a good start and a good finish," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said.


Luke Glendening scored for Dallas and Braden Holtby kept the Stars close with 37 saves. Boston had the first nine shots of the game and finished with a 40-28 advantage, keeping the Stars close despite the volume of shots coming his way.


“I thought we battled back, but it’s tough to start on your heels like that,” Glendening said.


DeBrusk put Boston up 2-1 on a goal 4:43 into the third period, grabbing the puck in front of the crease after Nick Foligno lost control and poking it past Holtby.

After opening the season with a 3-2 overtime win at the New York Rangers on Thursday, the Stars got off to a slow start defensively Saturday and never quite recovered.


Dallas didn't get a shot on net until 4:02 remained in the first, when Swayman easily handled a wrist shot by Jamie Benn to preserve the scoreless tie.


Less than two minutes later, Marchand swooped in for a turnover just outside the Dallas zone and skated in on Holtby, drawing a penalty shot when Ryan Suter grabbed his stick.


Marchand gathered the puck at center ice went full speed toward Holtby, beating him with a low wrist shot on the stick side for a 1-0 lead. There was some question over whether Pastrnak cleared the zone in time before Marchand took the puck back in but the call stood, as did Boston’s 1-0 lead.


The Bruins nearly added another goal right away after a faceoff win, but Holtby got his right pad extended enough to block any rebounds during a scrum in front of the net.


“It’s been outstanding,” Glendening said of Dallas' goaltending through two games. “They’ve made great saves, kept us in games and got us two points in New York. Holts was a huge reason we were in the game tonight, especially in that first period.”


Glendening evened the score on a wrist shot from the slot 9:15 into the second period. Dallas responded with a stronger second period, still only getting seven shots but holding Boston to just 11.


Swayman stopped Glendening on a short-handed breakaway with 7:20 left in the second. Although Dallas showed a little more life offensively in the second, Swayman was solid and gave up very few rebounds.


“They’re a great team. They have depth. They play hard, they play heavy. We weathered the storm really well,” Swayman said. ”I’m the last line of defense. I want to do my job, making sure that I’m battling just as hard as those guys in front of me are for me, so I was happy with the outcome."




The Bruins opened the season with Swayman in net as Tuukka Rask remains unsigned and recovering from an operation in July on his right hip. An unrestricted free agent who has played all 14 of his NHL seasons with Boston, Rask has said he’d like to re-sign with the Bruins and hopes to be healthy enough to play around the holidays.


Swayman made his NHL debut in April and went 7-3 with two shutouts last season.


“Going into it, I just wanted to treat it like another game — no bigger or smaller than what I’ve played before,” Swayman said. “Now I do realize the magnitude of it and it’s something pretty special, something I’ll never forget.”


Boston also opens the season without forward David Krejci, who spent 15 seasons with the club before returning to play in his home country of the Czech Republic.

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Game # 2


Boston 3 Flyers 6


Flyers score six, pull away to defeat Bruins

Atkinson has two goals, Jones makes 37 saves for Philadelphia

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Cam Atkinson broke a tie with his second goal of the game 58 seconds into the third period, helping the Philadelphia Flyers defeat the Boston Bruins 6-3 at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.


Joel Farabee and Sean Couturier each had a goal and an assist, and Derick Brassard and Keith Yandle each had two assists for Philadelphia (2-0-1). Martin Jones made 37 saves in his Flyers debut.


"This was a fast-paced game, fast-paced hockey from both teams," Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. "Both teams forced one another into turnovers. I thought we were able to capitalize on a few more than them."


Karson Kuhlman, Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand scored for Boston (1-1-0). Jeremy Swayman made 19 saves.


"Obviously accountable for what happened," Swayman said. "Thought the team played great, great comeback in the second. I just want to do my job better, give the team a better chance to win."


Farabee started the play that led to the go-ahead goal when he intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and rushed the puck into the Boston end. He centered it to a cutting Atkinson, who pushed the puck past Swayman while falling to the ice to make it 4-3.


The goal came after Marchand tied it 3-3 with 1:00 remaining in the second.


"The most important shifts are after you score a goal or you get scored on," Atkinson said. "It's never a good thing to get scored on in the last minute, but I think we did a good job of responding and staying positive on the bench."


The line of Farabee (six points; three goals, three assists), Brassard (five points; one goal, four assists) and Atkinson (four points; three goals, one assist) has combined for 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) through the Flyers' first three games.


They were put together late during the preseason, in part because Atkinson and Brassard were linemates from 2011-13 with the Columbus Blue Jackets.


"I think it's just simple hockey," said Farabee, who has scored in all three games.


"We're not really trying to do too much. When we don't have a play we're getting it in and getting on the forecheck, and I think for us that's creating a lot of turnovers and just using that as offense."


Travis Konecny made it 5-3 at 11:17. It was his third straight game with a goal.


Couturier scored a power-play goal into an empty net with 59 seconds remaining for the 6-3 final.


"They took advantage of the opportunities we presented to them, and credit [to] them for finishing and finding the open guy," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.


Atkinson finished a 2-on-1 to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 8:06 of the first period.


Kuhlman tied it 1-1 at 16:48 after Trent Frederic's shot from the slot went off the skate of Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim and to Kuhlman near the left post.


Farabee put Philadelphia ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal with nine seconds remaining in the first.


The Bruins outshot the Flyers 10-7 in the first period, but Jones made nine saves.


"Always feels nice to get the first one under your belt," Jones said. "I thought we played really well, I thought we defended really well. I was able to see a lot of shots, a lot of stuff in the outside. It was a great game all around."


Scott Laughton's goal at 1:58 of the second period extended the lead to 3-1.


Hall scored on a breakaway to cut it to 3-2 at 8:38.




  • 00:38 • October 20th, 2021

Bruins forward Nick Foligno left the game with 4:15 remaining in the second because of an upper-body injury. Cassidy said he did not believe the injury was serious.


NOTES: Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy had two assists to give him 100 in the NHL. They came in his 237th game.


The only Bruins defensemen to reach the milestone faster were Hall of Fame members Ray Bourque (176 games) and Bobby Orr (180). ... Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had two shots, two hits and two blocked shots in 18:37 of ice time in his Philadelphia debut.


He missed the first two games because of an upper-body injury. ... Farabee and Konecny became the first Flyers to score in each of the first three games of the season since Claude Giroux in 2011-12. ... Philadelphia forward James van Riemsdyk had an assist and four shots in his 800th NHL game.



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Game # 3


Boston 4 Buffalo 1


Coyle, Ullmark lead Bruins to 4-1 win over Sabres



Updated: 5 hours ago

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- — Charlie Coyle had a goal and and two assists, Linus Ullmark made 35 saves against his former team and the Boston Bruins beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night.


Taylor Hall added a goal and an assist, and Brad Marchand tallied two assists as the Bruins rebounded from a 6-3 loss Wednesday in Philadelphia to salvage a split on its first road trip of the season. David Pastrnak and Tomas Nosek also scored for Boston.


Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Ullmark was “excellent” in his first start and “gave us a chance to win.”


“Good for Linus,” Cassidy said. “I’m sure he wanted to play well here specifically, and play well in his first game no matter where he played. But, more importantly here.”


Ullmark, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Bruins in July after playing six seasons with the Sabres, said winning his Bruins debut in Buffalo “was very special.”


“It’s definitely going to be one of those lifelong memories,” Ullmark said.


The Sabres got a goal from Victor Oloffson in their first loss of a four-game homestand. Craig Anderson stopped 22 shots.


“We have to make sure that we learn from it and become better because of it,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “It’s nice to be able to play tomorrow, even though there could be a fatigue factor. We need to play more efficient.”


Ullmark made 15 of his saves in the opening period, his best coming on a Buffalo power play when he used the heel of his left skate to stop a backhand shot from Dylan Cozens that slipped between Ullmark’s pads.


“He was a brick wall tonight,” Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo said. “He held us in that game, throughout the first two periods, especially.”


Olofsson scored with 5:25 remaining in the third to end Ullmark’s shutout bid. The Sabres outshot their opponent for the fourth straight game, but couldn’t continue the momentum from a three-game win streak.


“It was a big learner for us, for sure,” Olofsson said. “We feel happy with the way we played. I think we’ll take a lot with us in this game.”


Coyle scored on a power play to give the Bruins a three-goal lead about five minutes into the second period. It was the first power-play goal the Sabres allowed this season after nine successful penalty kills.


Marchand threaded a pass from the right circle past three Sabres’ sticks to set up Coyle on the left side of the net.


Marchand also had a hand in the Bruins’ first goal when he took the puck from Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin along the end boards, received a backhand pass from Patrice Bergeron and fed Pastrnak for a one-timer from the right slot.


Coyle set up Nosek for a tap-in from the left edge of the crease to make it 2-0 toward the end of the first.


Hall assisted on Nosek’s goal and scored into the empty net in the closing minutes of the third period. Hall, who played 37 games for the Sabres last season before he was traded to Boston, drew boos from the crowd of 7,820 in his first game back in Buffalo with fans in attendance.

Edited by Brewin Flames
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