June 12, 2024

Bruins

“We’re making an attempt to construct one thing completely completely different than final yr.”

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 30: Pavel Zacha #18 is surrounded by Jake DeBrusk #74, Danton Heinen #43, and Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins after scoring the game winning goal during overtime against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on October 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Panthers 3-2.
Pavel Zacha’s OT aim lifted Boston to a 3-2 win over the Panthers on Monday. Maddie Meyer/Getty Photographs

COMMENTARY

Jim Montgomery known as an audible on Monday morning at Warrior Ice Enviornment.

Relatively than dismiss Boston’s anticipated rematch towards the Florida Panthers later that evening as simply one other scheduled tilt on an 82-game docket, he ditched the cliches for some candid musings.

“It’s not 1 of 82,” Boston’s bench boss famous. “I imply, they ended our season. They went all the way in which to the Finals. Our summers had been depressing till the Finals had been over. And that’s as a result of they beat us. So yeah, this implies extra.”

The Bruins gamers who noticed final yr’s storybook ending ripped from the backbone of its fastidiously crafted tome opted to not comply with the same script — even after Pavel Zacha’s OT tally capped a 3-2 comeback win on Monday evening.

An everyday-season triumph earlier than the calendar even flips to November won’t assuage the ache felt practically six months earlier, when Carter Verhaeghe discovered twine with a fast wrist shot in the identical barn.

It received’t reverse the painful course Boston wanted to chart this previous summer time, the place retirements, trades and free-agent departures sapped the crew of franchise stalwarts and key contributors.

For Brad Marchand and a reworked Bruins roster within the midst of an 8-0-1 begin, Monday’s win doesn’t revolve round hole vengeance. Relatively, it provides hope for a brighter ending subsequent spring.

“It simply doesn’t change something,” Marchand famous. “It’s at all times good to win a sport however it’s two factors. It’s not going to vary the result of final yr … Now we have a a lot completely different group, a number of new guys and we’re making an attempt to construct one thing completely completely different than final yr.

“Clearly there’s a basis, this crew has been constructed lengthy earlier than this yr, which is one thing we’re gonna proceed to enhance upon.”

Monday’s 3-2 win over the Panthers would possibly as effectively be a microcosm of this overhauled 2023-24 Bruins crew.

Not like final season’s record-setting membership, this crew’s avenue towards piling on factors within the standings stands to be a bit rougher across the edges.

Relatively than depend on a stacked lineup to increase leads and put groups away, this crew’s greatest odds for 2 factors hinge on elite goaltending, a stout protection and grinding away within the offensive zone.

Linus Ullmark held up his finish of the discount with a 35-save efficiency. A shorthanded D corps remained afloat, even after dropping Matt Grzlecyk for many of Monday’s sport and Charlie McAvoy following a match penalty within the third interval.

Led by Hampus Lindholm’s 28:06 of ice time, Boston’s D-zone construction didn’t budge — killing off all 5 minutes of McAvoy’s penalty and standing tall down the stretch towards the likes of Matthew Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov and others who accelerated their offseason itineraries final April.

And after discovering themselves on the ropes towards Florida’s bruising forecheck for many of the opening 20 minutes, Boston ultimately managed to land a couple of counter-punches because it clawed out of a two-goal deficit.

Franchise fixtures in Marchand and McAvoy lit the lamp to drive additional time, whereas considered one of Boston’s new top-six pivots in Zacha ended issues with a blistering wrist shot at 3:36 within the additional interval.

However new faces have left their fingerprints throughout this 8-0-1 begin, be it a brand new netfront specialist like James van Riemsdyk, a pair of bruising fourth-line forwards in Johnny Beecher and Jakub Lauko, and a 19-year-old top-six middle in Matthew Poitras — who seemingly received’t be packing his baggage for Guelph any time quickly.

“What occurred final yr, occurred final yr,” Ullmark stated postgame of Monday’s win. “There’s no motive to dwell on the previous for me. It doesn’t matter now, clearly. The one factor that issues for me it’s the following puck.”

The 2023-24 Bruins nonetheless have a protracted solution to go towards atoning for final season’s early exit.

Monday’s comeback win stands as one other step in the fitting path. However as Marchand famous, there’s just one manner for Boston to completely put final season within the rearview mirror.

“On the finish of the day, Florida ended up in the very same spot we did, only a month later,” Marchand stated. “Just one crew wins. Doesn’t matter for those who lose within the fourth spherical or within the first spherical. Except you win a Cup, you don’t obtain your aim.”