The next men are coming and why Brad Marchand tops his class
Linus Ullmark stopped 35 of 36 shots against his former team, his first regular season start for the B’s (Photo by Bill Wippert / NHLI via Getty Images)
While the Boston Bruins are in shock after the Philadelphia Flyers beat them midweek to a 6-3 win to break a 3-3 tie, the team lost Nick Foligno to caused an injury and saw rookie Jeremy Swayman in the NHL’s toughest start.
This called on Bruce Cassidy and the Boston coaches to call out the names of several upcoming men. Linus Ullmark and Tomas nosek both had a positive impact on the game with a win and a goal respectively. Defenders John moore and forward Anton Blidh inserted into the lineup with Connor Clifton exiting and Nick Foligno’s injury in Philadelphia opening a spot up front.
All of them show what the importance of depth in all positions means for an experienced crew like the B. The Bruins beat the Buffalo Sabers 3-0 on the road 4-1 to give them a 2-1 record in limping at home with more players expected to be out of the lineup to face the San Jose Sharks 4-0 in a Sunday morning game.
That kind of quality road effort helps create the conditions for the club to build positive momentum with just three games played in 11 days since the start of the 2021-22 NHL regular season. That’s why the B’s are still a respected opponent in the Atlantic Division and have a chance to build on their 2020-21 success.
Besides Ullmark and Nosek, Charlie coyle (East Weymouth, Mass.) Had a multi-point effort, scoring a power play goal against Buffalo and finding a way to stay productive with Taylor Hall (both have 3 points) on the second line.
“It’s normally (Pastrnak) hitting that, good for Charlie,” Cassidy said. “He shot the puck, something we want more of in any situation, so happy for him. He had a good play, on goal too, on the backdoor pass, so find a little offensive rhythm.
That offensive pace is going to be crucial for Boston this season, so give Coyle credit for making the kind of start that kept the skeptics at bay. Three scoreless games to open the campaign by replacing David Krejci, and we would no doubt hear about it.
First as a Boston Bruin. 👃 pic.twitter.com/deuTfTGsx5
– Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) 23 October 2021
Nosek, for his part, has proven to be a lower line north-south striker who finds himself in the third line with Foligno in the infirmary. He has the size and wheels to reach the net, although lack of skill is what makes him a fourth row player. Still, getting a goal from Nosek in Foligno’s absence is what the B’s needed.
Moore, who found himself with an opportunity after Clifton struggled with turnovers against the Flyers, played his offside as a left-back, keeping it simple. The B’s gave it up in an attempt to have its contract removed from the books, but found no takers. It is still an experienced piece and provides the necessary depth in case of injuries or difficulties in the back. For now, Moore has probably earned another look on the list.
Ullmark wasn’t exactly a next script, as he had been identified as the starter against his former club in Buffalo, but he closed the door, nearly completing a shutout. He stopped 35 of 36 shots (save percentage of 0.972) in his first official game with the Bruins.
The former Saber was discovered through scouting work in the 2012 draft. Due diligence made him a sixth-round pick and the rest is history. Ullmark has recorded 50 wins and a record winning Buffalo despite being one of the worst performers.
Never mind the Boston skeptics who were already clamoring to trade (him with the no-move clause) the unrestricted free agent signing after an admittedly unstable preseason followed by Swayman’s first home win over Dallas.
“It’s always fun to get a lot of shots, obviously,” Ullmark said after beating the club that drafted him in 2012. “It’s not something you really want to have every night. You want to have a tight defense that doesn’t give them a lot of scoring opportunities. The further the game went, the better we got, and it was just a solid team game all around. “
If he had nerves to face the only team he had ever known in the NHL, Ullmark didn’t show it, but the opportunity was certainly not a new start for him.
“It was more of an out-of-body experience during warm-ups and hymns too,” Ullmark said. “But then I kind of settled down after the puck fell… it was nice. It was familiar, just being on the other side this time.
Good thing for Boston that he settled in and was ready for the Buffalo shooting assault. Having a capable duo in net is paramount for any winning NHL club, and it turns out that speed of judgment during the preseason was premature. Even with Swayman’s stumble in Philly, the club are well placed in net.
It remains to be seen what will happen when Tuukka Rask is allowed to return, but the goalkeeper got the job done.
For GM Don sweeney, Cassidy and the rest of the Bruins, being strong in net is good news.
Why Brad Marchand is the top of his class
Oops… he did it again.
Brad Marchand is off for another team-top start for the B’s, and it’s not just consistency and excellence playing down the left side of the front row that the 33-year-old has consistently brought to the table for years, it is his emergence as a leader to go along with his ability as an all-out threat.
Alex Ovechkin (36) had scored 260 goals in 442 games since he turned 30 in 2015.
This is the most goals in the NHL during this period. Brad Marchand is second with 206 goals.
– Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) 23 October 2021
The best players in the world do this because they don’t limit themselves to just one dimension. For an elite hockey player, the same goes for anything else in this world: the more effective hats you can wear, the more valuable you are. We’ve discussed Marchand’s evolution as a leader over the Bruins before, but even on the bad side of 30, he continues to score at a star level.
His three goals and 5 points in the first three games of the regular season not only make him Boston’s MVP, but also a compelling argument for Marchand to be the best left player in hockey.
For years, NHL observers and fans hated Marchand simply because he cut his teeth in the league as a peerless agitator. However, as he became a major threat to the score, the No.63 grew as a player and a person.
Marchand’s speed, hockey IQ and shooting have always made him a shorthanded scoring threat. He’s become one of the best weapons on the power play over time and can score evenly. His 720 points rank him fifth in the 2006 draft class, the four players ahead of him were drafted in the top 30, with three of them (Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and Phil Kessel) at 3-4-5 in this NHL Lottery organized over 15 years ago.
When the B’s went to the Marchand 71 draftst Overall in the third round, few had the kind of hope for him that he has sparked since entering the NHL as a fourth in line 11 years ago. While the Hall of Fame might turn out to be beyond its reach for reasons other than numbers (unpopular players, no matter how effective they are, have a harder time getting votes), there is no denying that Marchand has become and will remain one of the Bruins’ most popular players in the eyes of fans. He’s been a well-respected teammate and leader for quite some time now.
Unfortunately for Marchand’s legacy in the NHL, it is probably not enough for him to win over outside fans who superficially focus on past transgressions and refuse to bring themselves to admit the obvious – few NHL winger bring the pace, skill, intelligence and the three zones the impact that Brad Marchand makes.
He doesn’t care what other people think of him, but in the end, Marchand will go down in history as one of the Bruins’ most successful forwards of all time. Over the decades to come, those who saw him fly around the ice and make plays at the critical moment will fondly relate to their children, friends and fellow Boston fans in generations to come how good he was. player. Much like those who saw the Big, Bad Bruins of old and spoke of Johnny “Pie” McKenzie or Derek Sanderson, Marchand’s legacy will be one of enduring greatness and respect in Boston.
If that’s not good enough for average Predators, Jets, or Blues fans, then so be it.
He’s a Boston Bruin. Completely.