There was a moment at the Garden last Thursday that seemed to symbolize the dawn of a new era for Bruins’ hockey:
Phil Kessel, in town with his fellow Maple Leafs and still pointless (in both ways) at the Garden as a Leaf, said he “couldn’t care less” about the crowd’s chant. Tyler Seguin had just scored his first (of many?) goal at the Garden, and his presence on the Bruins is a result of the draft pick that Toronto gave us for Phil Kessel.
It was a magic early season moment at the Garden. Remember how the Bruins came out of the gate last season? For whatever reason, they could never gain any traction…and, at times, looked absolutely terrible.
And when they did finally get traction in the playoffs, that ended abruptly…
Well, the Bruins seem to have found their stride much more quickly this season than last. Last season, they struggled right from the get-go to establish any team identity, especially on home ice. It’s only eight games, but a 6-2 record only tells part of the story. Following a 1-1 trip to open the season in Prague, the Bruins have gone 5-1.
Some key early season statistics:
- Following their opening 5-2 loss to Phoenix, the Bruins have allowed 6 goals in 7 games. Wow.
- Tim Thomas is leading the defensive stampede, going 6-0 with a .984 SV% and a 0.50 GA. He already has three shutouts, and would have four, if he didn’t handle the puck like Diane Wilkerson handles tax returns.
- The Bruins have the largest GF/GA differential (+13), and have played in the fewest games (8) in the league.
- Nathan Horton scored 5 goals in his first six games; and his scrap with Dion Phaneuf of the Leafs was the start of a Garden love affair. This guy is a Bruin.
- The David Krejci, Horton, and Milan Lucic line has combined for 26 points and a +16…in only eight games.
- Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron both got their first NHL goals out of the way early…and both have scored two more since.
- Bruins win both ends of a home-and-home series against league powerhouse Washington, in which they outscored the Caps 7-2.
- After a brief stumble against the Rangers, losing 3-2, the Bruins and Tim Thomas post back to back shutouts against Toronto and Ottawa to close out October at 6-2.
I know. A small sample indeed. But the Bruins are hitting all the right notes…which can’t be said of everyone at the Garden so far this season:
In the 3-1 Bruins victory over the Capitals on October 19, Milan Lucic had a “Gordie Howe hat trick“. Looch had fought, and lost to, John Erskine earlier in his career. As Brick points out, this one was percolating all night:
Milt Schmidt Night at the Garden
It was also Milt Schmidt Night on Thursday October 28, and Uncle Milty was honored in a pregame ceremony that showed the respect that Bruins fans have for this 92-year old legend, and what he’s done for this organization. Schmidt played with the Bruins from 1936 to 1942, then again from 1945 to 1955 after serving in World War II in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He put up 229-346-575 totals in 776 games and won Stanley Cups in 1939 and 1941, then helped guide the Bruins to their two most recent championships in 1970 and 1972 as the club’s GM.
The Bruins have a grueling schedule in November. When they face-off against the Sabres in Buffalo tomorrow night, it will begin a stretch of 14 games in 27 days.
So the Bruins have gotten off the tee nicely…let’s see how their fairway game is.
This Week’s “How Did This Happen?” Clip:
And one last reminder for all you politically ambitious kids out there….zip up!