Bruins satisfied, but not smug, about their start

Bruins satisfied, but not smug, about their start
October 8, 2013, 1:00 pm
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WILMINGTON -- Things couldn’t have gone more smoothly for the Bruins over their first two games.

They retained their good health from the preseason -- except for the Big Swede, Carl Soderberg -- and jumped out to a perfect 2-0-0 record while working out some of the kinks with new pieces like Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith.

“I think it’s nice to feel good right away and to have some confidence and try to keep building that [momentum],” said Patrice Bergeron. “So the first two games were good and our [penalty kill was good]. But also I thought our power play was very good [Saturday against Detroit].

“I think we’ve improved . . . and that’s what you want to see. I think [it’s been] a good effort from everyone and we’ve just got to keep moving forward.”

That’s the way to treat a good start: positive about the areas of success the team has enjoyed, but with a constant eye on what’s coming next.

It was important for the much-maligned power play to have some success in the first few games. Tuukka Rask has looked dominant when the Bruins do falter in front him. Moving Zdeno Chara move to the front of the net on the power play looks like it’s going to pay major dividends. Players like Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly look like they're back in form after appearing out-of-sorts during last year's lockout season.

The third line has gelled, with a resurgent Jordan Caron playing some of the best hockey of his young career, and the top six forwards have only just scratched the surface of how good they’ll be this season. Torey Krug has picked up right where he left off last spring in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and he’s proving quickly that he’s a legitimate puck-moving defenseman rather than a one-hit postseason wonder.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team lost to the B's on Saturday night, knows it will be difficult for any team to beat the Bruins with less than its best.

“As a coach for a pre-scout on Boston, it takes about six minutes," he said. "[They're] not trying to trick you. They’re just going to do it right, over and over and over again. You just see the same thing, over and over again. The reason they’re successful is because they’re organized and they’ve got really good people in good spots. They’ve got good depth in their lineup and they’ve got good players, but they also do it right.”

So there are plenty of reasons to be content about where the Bruins are, nearly a week into a season that carries toweringly high expectations.

But there need to be caveats, of course.

The Lightning -- the Bruins' Opening Night opponent -- still have Marty St. Louis and Steve Stamkos on their roster, and that’s a wonderful start for any team. But they have serious holes in their defense, shaky goaltending, and an extremely green cast of characters. They'll take their lumps this season.

As for the Red Wings -- the B's second victim -- they were playing their third game in four nights and were forced to use goaltender Jimmy Howard for all of them while backup Jonas Gustavsson recovers from an injury. It was clear to the Bruins players afterward they probably didn’t get the most power-packed punch from the Winged Wheels in their first divisional showdown; in fact, Babcock criticized his players after the Saturday night loss for their inability to fight through the mental and physical fatigue.

So the B’s aren’t about to get too high and mighty.

“You can’t judge too much during the first month of the season,” said coach Claude Julien. “You want to let guys play together and let things play out over the first month or so, and then you can start to get an idea about things.”

A two-game start is nice, but a good 10-15 game stretch that puts them in a prime playoff spot in Thanksgiving is what the Bruins are eyeing through these first few months of the seasons.