By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
Frankly, it would have been silly for Bruins fans to expect a better start to the season than what Bruce Cassidy’s boys have gotten off to over the first month. At 11-2-2 and sitting in first place in what everyone surrounding the game thinks will be a very competitive Atlantic Division, the B’s sit third in the NHL in points with 24.
Only the Washington Capitals and defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues have more (25), however, the Black and Gold have one and two games in hand respectively.
Even with their two recent hiccups – the second period that they seemingly spent trapped in the dressing room in a 6-4 win against the Penguins on Monday night at home and the egg that Tuukka Rask laid once again in Montreal in a 5-4 loss on Tuesday – the fact remains that the only two regulation losses they have suffered this year were a direct result of the ridiculous way the league over-analyzes offsides in video review.
Nevertheless, it seems as if general manager Don Sweeney knows that his club’s early success has been the result of a virtually unsustainable pace of a handful of his top players and their near perfection on the power play.
Despite the fact that both David Pastrnak – who leads the league with 30 points (15 goals and 15 assists) – and Brad Marchand – who is third with 28 points (10 G and 18 A) – it seems Sweeney is doing his due diligence when it comes to adding more potential scoring depth at forward.
Earlier this week, Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now reported that the Bruins have interest in forwards Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings and the Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala. And while Murphy’s source called of these potential trade targets “exploratory at this point”, it sheds light on the fact that Sweeney knows that there is a good possibility he will likely have to look outside the organization to strengthen his secondary scoring at some point this season.
It is unfair to think that both Pastrnak and Marchand can keep up the pace they have put up over the first 15 games of the season. It is equally unlikely that the power play – largely fueled by the B’s two top scorers – will continue to cash in at an obscene league-best rate of 31.4%.
While the return of David Krejci should help, the fact remains that after Patrice Bergeron’s 7 tallies (Gee, I wonder who his linemates are?), none of the players Cassidy has dressed all season has found the back of the opponent’s net more than 3 times in this current campaign.
If history is any guide, this Bruins team will be bitten by the injury bug at some point this season. They will also hit a stretch in which Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak hit a cold stretch (just reference the Cup Final loss against the Blues).
Sweeney knew he had a contending team when training camp started in September. What his squad had done the first 15 games surely has only strengthened that belief.
It is also likely the reason that he will be looking to add a top-six forward whenever the time and price is right.
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