Four Key Takeaways from the Bruins Preseason Action
After an overtime loss last night to the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-3, the Bruins have concluded their entire preseason slate.
That loss pushed their record to 2-1-3 after having to go to extra time in four of their six matchups.
Last night allowed for the Bruins to exhibit what should be close to their full lineup come regular season time, and it showed a lot about what this team may or may not be able to accomplish.
Boston will drop the puck to start their regular season with a game at their beautiful home arena, TD Garden, on October 16th when they face the Dallas Stars.
With that being said, there are a few key takeaways that I took from last night’s game, as well as the preseason as a whole for Bruce Cassidy’s team.
#4: Charlie Coyle is ready to be the second line center
One thing was evident from the finale of the preseason last night and that was that Charlie Coyle is the proper fit in between Taylor Hall and Craig Smith. He was always around the puck and his efforts were rewarded last night with the first goal of the game.
Smith nearly had another one on a pass from Hall. Last night was his first game back from back surgery, and Coyle looked good and strong down the middle with his positioning.
His physicality and skill will mesh well with the speed and finesse of Hall and Smith on the wings.
#3: There is still a large question mark at goaltending
Linus Ullmark got the start last night, and he projects to be the starter to begin the season, but he is still a bit unproven due to his irregular numbers behind an abysmal Buffalo Sabres defense.
He let in a few questionable goals this preseason, and Bruce Cassidy stated that Ullmark needs to “tighten up” his play, but is looking forward to seeing what he is able to do with more reps.
Swayman will most likely be the backup, and while he performed relatively well last season, he was inconsistent in his one playoff start, sending question marks to the B’s staff.
#2: Secondary scoring may still be an issue
The bottom six of the forward core failed to shine through other than in their first preseason game against Washington to kick off 2021-22, and much of that was because those bottom six guys were getting top line minutes against other bottom six forwards.
When in their normal lineup, Boston has long had an issue with secondary scoring, and have heavily relied on the skill of their top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.
Adding Taylor Hall is huge to their second line, but they will need third liners such as Jake Debrusk and Connor Clifton to chip in a healthy amount of scoring if they want to compete.
#1: Taylor Hall will define how this team plays
As previously mentioned, Boston has long been defined by the play of their top stars, Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergeron.
But after a trade deadline acquisition of Taylor Hall last season, they now have a former MVP caliber talent on their second line. If Hall can produce the same numbers and play that he was putting up in New Jersey, the Bruins could be one to watch out for.
Hall showed good chemistry with Coyle which could prove to be a new dynamic duo for that second line in Boston. If that is the case, I give Boston a good shot in the Atlantic this year.