On Thursday night, Boston Bruins fans were having a blast during the B’s 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden.
The win, on the back of yet another big time hat trick from David Pastrnak, catapulted the black and gold ahead of the two-time defending champs in the Atlantic Division standings, setting up what is sure to be a dogfight down the stretch. Why wouldn’t the Garden be buzzing?
But if we take a step back, Bruins fans should be equally pumped up about something else that happened on Thursday. Following his trade from the Anaheim Ducks, defenseman Hampus Lindholm made his Bruins debut, and the results were immaculate.
Hampus Lindholm made an immediate impact in his Boston Bruins debut
Coming to Boston with the reputation of being a minute eater, Lindholm lived up to his name by playing more than 23 minutes against Tampa. Most of those came alongside Charlie McAvoy, and it looked like the pair developed some instant chemistry as the game went along, which is a great sign for both the short and long-term potential of that pairing.
Lindholm was strong in the defensive zone all night, especially behind Jeremy Swayman’s net, and made several nice possession plays to get the B’s out of their zone. Perhaps none was better than his move to set up David Pastrnak’s first goal of the night.
He also registered four shots and almost had a second assist with a great feed to Trent Frederic, who wasn’t able to finish from close range. An offensively gifted, yet defensive-minded defenseman, is something that every team desires, and it looks like the Bruins just found another one in Lindholm.
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Charlie McAvoy/Hampus Lindholm pair has immense potential for Boston Bruins
Even though it’s still brand new, it would be hard for Bruins fans to not like what they saw out of their new top duo. We’re all familiar with Charlie McAvoy, who had a real case for stronger Norris Trophy consideration last year and has been even better this season. But pairing him with another elite two-way D-man has created what, on paper and in limited sample size, should be one of the top pairings in the league.
In a loaded Atlantic Division, that’s no small feat. Not only for the remainder of this season, but with both signed until 2030, this is the Bruins top pairing of the future. And if early indications remain true, it’s going to be a good one.
Boston Bruins setting up for life post-Patrice Bergeron
I know, I know. Nobody wants to think about it, or even admit that there will come a day when #37 no longer suits up for the Boston Bruins. But that day is coming, and the B’s have continued to do the responsible thing by slowly preparing for Patrice Bergeron’s retirement.
Don Sweeney hasn’t been perfect as GM, but the B’s have been locking up players who they see as long-term pillars with the goal of remaining competitive when that day comes. First it was Charlie Coyle, then Brandon Carlo, Taylor Hall and Charlie McAvoy. And now, they’ve solidified their top defensive pairing with Hampus Lindholm.
The one obvious remaining piece is a long-term deal for David Pastrnak, but in reality that should be a pretty easy negotiation: Whatever he asks for, say yes and lock him up long term.
But as long as Bergeron and Brad Marchand are here, the B’s are firmly in win-now mode. And as the playoffs draw closer, the B’s have done a great job adding talent that helps accomplish that all-in mentality while also setting up the team for the future. With McAvoy and Lindholm on the back end, Hall and Pastrnak up front, and Swayman in net, the B’s should be just fine, and that’s all we can really ask for as fans.