3 Burning Questions As The Bruins Season Opens

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The Boston Bruins begin their centennial season, and there is excitement, maybe even anxiety, as Bruins fans anticipate a new lineup and life without Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Last season’s opener saw the Bruins enter the season as a favorite to win the Eastern Conference and reach the Stanley Cup with a loaded lineup. This season, Boston has a good team with star players David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy leading the way, but there is still some apprehension and wonderment about just how good this team is. Wednesday night, we begin to find out.

Here are three burning questions that will help solve exactly what type of team the Bruins will have this season:

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Can Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle Produce Offensively?

Without Bergeron and Krejci, the Bruins have a void in the top-six forward group at center. Pavel Zacha had his best year with Boston last season, playing mostly wing with 57 points. The first-round draft pick in 2015 will now have to be the first-line center with Pastrnak on his right side. To start the season, newly-acquired James van Riemsdyk will be the left wing. Zacha is a steady two-way center, but whether he can be the playmaker the Bruins need will be determined.

Charlie Coyle is a premier third-line center with his solid puck possession game and defensive attributes. The 31-year-old will now be asked to play more minutes as second-line center, at least until rookie Matthew Poitras shows he can handle the load full-time. Coyle had 45 points last season but zero points on the power play. With his new responsibilities, Coyle should see time on the man advantage and will need to prove that he can be a viable offensive threat with Jake DeBrusk and Brad Marchand on his wings.

Will the Bruins Get Good Goaltending or Great Goaltending?

Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman were the best goaltending tandem in the NHL last season while winning the Jennings Trophy. Ullmark was the Vezina Trophy winner with a 40-6-1 record and a 1.89 goals-against average. His .938 save percentage was tops in the league. However, in the last two playoffs, Ullmark has been subpar, with save percentages of .860 in 2021-22 and .896 in last year’s first round. Swayman has had to eventually relieve Ullmark each of the last two postseasons. In order for the Bruins to advance past the first round this season, the netminders will have to lead the way.

Will the kids contribute all season?

Poitras burst onto the scene in training camp and led the team in preseason scoring. The second-round pick in 2022 went from returning to the Ontario Hockey League to forcing the Bruins’ hand and earning at least the first nine games of the regular season with Boston. Poitras could be the center the Bruins desperately need to develop. The question will be how long he can stay in the NHL. Johnny Beecher also earned a spot on the parent club roster out of camp and gives Boston a big, speedy fourth-line center.

Mason Lohrei was sent down to Providence to begin the year but appears poised for a call-up if the Bruins incur an injury on two on the blue line. All three young players could see significant time and be the difference between the Bruins being a borderline playoff team or a solid contender in the Eastern Conference. If the Bruins find the answers to these questions, they could be a Stanley Cup sleeper.

Season 3. Episode 40. There’s Always Next Year Bruins Benders Podcast

Don Sweeney takes a dig at Jeremy Swayman and digs his heels in on Jake DeBrusk. Cam Neely mentions possible philosophy change. The Bruins want to be aggressive in free agency. What does it take to get Leon Draisaitl? Plus much more! DraftKings Sportsbook – Boston’s hometown Sportsbook is LIVE right here in Massachusetts! Bet local on all your favorite sports from the comfort of your own home with DraftKings. To celebrate, ALL new customers will receive up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets when you sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook using code ITR! You can now bet local on money lines, spreads, props, and more with one of America’s top-rated Sportsbooks – DraftKings Sportsbook!  Download the DraftKings Sportsbook app and sign up with code ITR to get up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets to use now that mobile sports betting is live in Massachusetts. That’s code ITR only at DraftKings Sportsbook. If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 800 327-5050 or visit helplineMA.org to speak with a trained specialist, free and confidentially, twenty four seven. 21+. Physically present in MA. Eligibility restrictions apply. Subject to regulatory licensing requirements. Eligibility and deposit restrictions apply. Opt in required. Bonus issued aree bets. Terms at draftkings.com/MA.
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