Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers: 9/28 game preview


After continuing their torrid preseason on Monday, the Boston Bruins now travel to the “City of Brotherly Love.”  What’s next for the Bruins as they take on the Flyers for the second time this preseason?

A complete, team game.  That is probably the best way to describe the Boston Bruins victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.  It feels good when a team takes down a year-in-year-out favorite to compete for the Cup, even in the preseason.  It’s even better when that team is the Blackhawks.

The Bruins came out of the gate firing on all cylinders.  Less than a minute in, David Pastrnak scored a beauty of a bar-down short-side goal on Chicago’s starting netminder, Corey Crawford.  The play started in the neutral zone with some great awareness and passing by Ryan SpoonerMatt Beleskey recorded the other assist.

Thirty-six second later, Jeremy Lauzon followed up with a wrist shot goal from the point that fooled Crawford, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead.  The assists were from Riley Nash and Tim Schaller, two players hoping to secure their spots in the very crowded bottom-six.

Then, still in the 1st period, Patrice Bergeron does what Patrice Bergeron does best.  The Bruins center, and reigning Selke Trophy winner, pick-pocketed a Chicago player on the forecheck.  Then Bergeron, always aware, fired a beauty of a cross-ice pass to potential rookie sensation Anders Bjork, who buried the one-timer.

For every fan who was wondering what sort of game Bjork would bring to the NHL this season, and how he would play with Bergeron and Brad Marchand, watch this play over and over.  If Bjork sticks with the big club, which many (including head coach Bruce Cassidy thinks he is ready for), expect to see a lot of this going forward.

After Chicago scored a late goal in the 1st period and the only goal of the 2nd period, Bergeron potted a power play goal in the 3rd that put the game out of reach.  The game ended with a 4-2 score in favor of the Bruins.

Takeaways from the last game

Ryan Spooner looked great.  He played like he was playing for his future in Boston, which to be honest, he really is on his one-year deal.  Anders Bjork looked like potential competition for Charlie McAvoy for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, as analyzed by our own Logan Jakubajtys.

Malcolm Subban played hard and fast, making key save after key save.  The competition for the last defenseman spot is down to Matt Grzelcyk and Rob O’Gara, and both guys really played their hearts out, with O’Gara being a bit more physical but Grzelcyk having an offensive touch to his game.  Who will be Torey Krug’s short-term injury replacement?

Overall, the team looked good from top-to-bottom in this last game.  I feel like the Bruins are flying a bit under the radar going into the season.  Watch out if the young players click with the veterans like they have in the preseason.

The game tonight

The Bruins made some roster moves after the last game.  Prospects Jeremy Lauzon and Ryan Fitzgerald were sent back to Providence on Tuesday to join the four players sent down on Sunday.  Both players had a great training camp with the team, and have bright futures in the organization.

Playing tonight at 7:00 pm in Philly at the Wells Fargo Center are the following players:

Forwards: Kenny Agostino, David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, Danton Heinen, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Frank Vatrano

Defensemen: Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Rob O’Gara, Paul Postma

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban

More from Boston Bruins

What to watch for

With only two more games before the regular season starts, the hard decisions for GM Don Sweeney and head coach Bruce Cassidy are coming, and coming quick.  Jake DeBrusk and Bjork are making their cases to stay in Boston and garner top-6 roles.  Will they continue to shine?

Forsbacka Karlsson is back in the lineup after suffering a lower body injury.  Did that missed time hurt his chances to make the big club out of camp?

The 7th NHL defenseman position still remains an open competition.  Right now, it appears to be a tie between Grzelcyk and O’Gara.  Will one of the two players make enough noise to tip the scales in his favor, or will it come down to a toss-up decision next week?  Grzelcyk is more likely to be able to replace the injured Torey Krug’s offensive ability; O’Gara brings a physical presence that can help establish tone early in the season.

Next: Boston University hockey predictions

On a non-Bruins note, Nolan Patrick was the #2 overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in this year’s draft.  He’s hoping to secure a spot in the opening day lineup, meaning he has to bring his all during the preseason.  He’ll be an interesting player to watch both tonight, and going forward.