Ranking the 10 Bruins players most responsible for team’s record start to season
Ranking the 10 Bruins players most responsible for team’s record start originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Bruins are off to the best start in franchise history with a 9-1-0 record through the first 10 games of the 2022-23 NHL season.
This impressive stretch isn’t the work of just a few players. Pretty much the whole team is playing a part, evidenced by the fact that 16 different guys have scored at least one goal so far. The goaltending, led by Linus Ullmark, has been top-tier as well.
Lindholm emerges as Bruins’ early season MVP after stunning win
And we cannot exclude Jim Montgomery, either. The Bruins’ new head coach has his team playing a more up-tempo and offensive-minded style, and the results speak for themselves.
Here’s a ranking of the 10 players most responsible for the Bruins’ hot start.
10) Nick Foligno, RW
Foligno was awful last season. He scored two goals in 64 games and was put on waivers just prior to the current campaign. Despite all of that adversity, Foligno has been one of the Bruins’ most surprising players through 10 games. He’s already scored three goals and has brought plenty of tenacity and leadership to the ice. The challenge now for Foligno is playing like this for a full season, but his play so far is quite encouraging for the Bruins.
Krejci has missed the last two games with an upper body injury, but before that, he was making a strong impact offensively with eight points in eight games. His chemistry with David Pastrnak is awesome and he’s also helped elevate the production from Taylor Hall.
It was fair to wonder how Krejci would look after taking a year off from NHL competition, but through eight games it’s clear that he’s still very much a top-six caliber center.
8) Taylor Hall, LW
Hall has been a huge bright spot offensively with five goals in 10 games, and none of them were more important than his equalizer late in the third period of Thursday’s comeback win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In addition to scoring, Hall is putting opponents on their heels with his aggressive zone entries and speed through the neutral zone. His chemistry with Krejci and Pastrnak on the second line has been very encouraging for the B’s.
7) Charlie Coyle, C
After a bit of a slow start offensively, Coyle has heated up of late with a three-game goal streak entering Thursday night. He has six points (four goals, two assists) in 10 games. Coyle’s impact goes beyond the regular counting stats, though. He’s been awesome on faceoffs (a 56.6 win percentage) and fantastic on the Bruins’ penalty kill, which leads the league with a 94.6 percent success rate. Coyle leads all B’s forwards with 3:03 of shorthanded ice time per game.
6) Derek Forbort, D
Forbort has been a machine for the Bruins defensively. His physical play, penalty killing and shot blocking all have been quite valuable. His 18 blocked shots and 3:36 of shorthanded ice time per game lead the team.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, Forbort suffered an upper body injury in Tuesday’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and is on injured reserve, per CapFriendly.
5) Jake DeBrusk, RW
It feels like forever ago that DeBrusk had requested a trade and was healthy scratched.
The 25-year-old forward has continued the momentum he built during the second half of last season and is off to a fine start in 2022-23 with eight points in nine games. He’s also been more aggressive in looking to score, evidenced by his 36 shots in nine games and 34 scoring chances (third-most on the team).
DeBrusk is turning good defense into offense, too, which is an impressive development in his game. We saw that on full display during his goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets last week.
Bergeron is 37 years old and still one of the league’s top centers. He’s third on the team in scoring with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 games.
Bergeron also has been an elite defensive player and driver of puck possession. The B’s have accounted for an impressive 60.57 percent of all shot attempts, 61.54 percent of all shots on net, 65.49 of all scoring chances and 70 percent of all goals scored when Bergeron is on the ice, per Natural Stat Trick. He’s also won 62.2 percent of his faceoffs, which leads the team.
No player makes a more profound three-zone impact than Bergeron.
3) David Pastrnak, RW
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The price to re-sign Pastrnak seems to be going up every day given his hot start. The superstar right winger ranks third in the league in scoring with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists). Pastrnak has been held without a point in just two of Boston’s first 10 games and he’s tallied 10 points in the last five matchups.
Assuming he stays healthy, there’s a very real chance Pastrnak hits the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career.
2) Linus Ullmark, G
Ullmark has been sensational thus far with a 6-0-0 record, a .932 save percentage, a 2.19 GAA and a 3.27 goals saved above average. The Swedish netminder has even more pressure on him after backup Jeremy Swayman suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday night’s win over the Penguins. It’s another opportunity for Ullmark to further establish himself as the clear-cut No. 1 option in Boston’s net.
1) Hampus Lindholm, D
The Bruins needed Lindholm to play like an elite No. 1 defenseman with Charlie McAvoy out of the lineup to begin the season, and the Swedish blueliner has more than met the challenge. Lindholm’s 11 points in 10 games are the third-most in the league among defensemen and the most by a B’s d-man through the first 10 games of a season since Ray Bourque in 1995-96. His goal Tuesday night capped a thrilling comeback after Boston trailed the Penguins 5-2.
Lindholm’s defense against the opponents’ top-six forwards has been solid, too, and he’s been a major contributor to both the power play and penalty kill. Lindholm’s 24:19 of ice time per game is his highest in four years and three minutes more than any teammate this season.
Boston’s blue line will be quite formidable when McAvoy returns because for the first time in a while, this unit has two legit No. 1 defensemen.
Source: Yahoo Sports