By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
The Bruins are barely over 10% into the 2019-20 season, but there are a few things that are glaringly obvious when it comes to head coach Bruce Cassidy’s club a week before Halloween.
First and foremost, David Pastrnak is a superstar. Not a budding star. Not a star in the making. A full-blown don’t go the fridge for a beer when this guy is on the ice because you are likely to miss hockey magic in the meantime.
The between the legs powerplay strike he scored against a seemingly defenseless Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson – check his stats this season, that is not an exaggeration – on Tuesday night at TD Garden to notch his league-leading 10th goal of the young season was sweeter than any honey that has soothed the throats of Bruins fans who have long thirsted for a sniper to don the Spoked-B over the last couple of decades.
When you add to that the continuation of Tuukka Rask playing at a level that he had shown glimpses of – but never really maintained until last springs run to the Stanley Cup Final last spring – and coupling that with Jaroslav Halak once again looking like the best backup – or netminding partner, is likely more appropriate – any educated observer of the NHL can see why that the team that calls Causeway Street home is considered one of the favorites to win it all come next June.
That being said, there are some sobering facts surrounding the second-place team in the Atlantic Division right now.
Pastrnak – who is scoring an otherworldly 31.3% on his shot attempts so far this season – is also accounting for 38.5% (10 of 26) goals for the Black and Gold this season. Even more troubling is the fact that half of those have come on the Bruins powerplay, which is cashing in at an almost criminal rate of 35.7 percent when their opponent commits a penalty.
If anyone who has watched hockey for more than a hot minute thinks that both of these statistics are sustainable, I’ve got a warehouse full of water bottles containing the last sheet of ice that Bobby Orr skated on in the old barn back in the 1970s.
On the flip side to those who are already researching potential Final destinations that might emerge from the West, here are a few things to consider.
Perhaps the most perfect specimen to ever play center in the NHL – Patrice Bergeron – had a platelet-rich plasma injection for his chronic groin injury this summer and – although he and the team would never admit it – has seemingly caused him problems already not even a month into the season.
David Krejci has been bothered by “upper-body” issues – with is worrisome when it comes to a guy that has battled back problems in the past – and general manager Don Sweeney was unable to find a solution this summer to help him and the streaky Jake DeBrusk solve the secondary scoring that will continue to likely haunt this team until the trade deadline at the end of February.
While Bruins fans should be happy with the team’s start to what could have been a Cup losing hangover, the end of October offers tricks and treats for a reason. Unless other parts of the team begin to carry their weight – and heaven forbid that Pastrnak and the goaltending return to mortal status – things could get pretty scary awfully quickly.