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We might have a goalie controversy on our hands, and other Bruins thoughts

Jaroslav Halak stopped 42 of 44 shots against the Hurricanes Tuesday night.Gerry Broome/AP

A few followup thoughts and shots high off the glass following the Bruins’ 3-2 win over the Hurricanes Tuesday night in Raleigh, where Brad Marchand scored twice, Patrice Bergeron assisted thrice, and Jaroslav Halak steered aside more rubber than a NASCAR pit crew:

■   With a 7-3-2 October behind them, the Bruins closed out their first month with 16 points, tied for third overall with the Maple Leafs, Avalanche, and Wild. Not bad for a club that has relied far too heavily on a small core of forwards for offense and with three of its top six defensemen logging more minutes in sick bay than a new class of MGH interns.


■   For anyone aching for a goalie controversy, the win in Raleigh served it up, blocker and glove on a silver paddle. Halak was superb, particularly when it came to snuffing out the Canes’ multiple shorthanded attempts.

Halak’s line for his first month in Black and Gold: 4-0-2, with a 1.51 goals against mark and a .947 save percentage. It’s the best GAA in the league for all goalies with three or more wins, third best in save percentage.

“He’s been good for us every night,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “No complaints there. He’s been a real rock for us back there.”

Where now? Tuukka Rask has been just OK at 3-3-0, 3.15, and .902, albeit with those numbers skewed somewhat by the handful he allowed in the Bizarro World opening night 7-0 shellacking in Washington. But there’s no denying that Halak has been much sharper, and Cassidy might have no option but to go with Rask’s co-tender again Saturday night in Nashville and then figure it out next week with Dallas, Vancouver, and Toronto in town.

■   Marchand now has four goals, and Nos. 3 and 4 were beauts.


His first, the 2-2 equalizer, was a snipe off the left wing after Bergeron sent him over the blue line with a Tom Brady-like bomb from deep in the Boston end.

His second had him bulldozing down the left side, playing Uber driver with Justin Williams on his back for the ride, then finishing off with a nifty wraparound that left him with a bunny at the wide-open right post.

It bumped Marchand’s line to 4-11—15 through 12 games — a pace for 103 points (career high: 85). So he should be smiling. But he’s not. He’s a goal scorer (now 230 in 614 games), and 30 goals is now his low bar for a season. His October output would only get him to 27.

“It’s been a little tough,” said Marchand. “I don’t think I’ve really been pulling my weight. Nice to get a couple, but it all starts with big plays from other guys, and I’m the beneficiary.”

To add scoring, Marchand will need more nights like Tuesday, when he rolled up seven shot attempts and landed five on goalie Scott Darling. He had only 17 shots land in his 11 other games — about half the rate that saw him deliver an average 219 shots to the net over the last three seasons.

“I wasn’t really shooting much,” said Marchand. “Every time I got around the net, I was looking for [David Pastrnak] or Bergy back door. Even earlier in [Raleigh] I had a couple of chances when I was in the slot and I looked to pass it back door.


“I think I just have to have a little more of a shooter mentality. When I do that, it will also open up Pasta or Bergy back door. They’ll have to respect the shot a little bit more instead of playing the pass.

“Two goals in 11 games, that’s not really respectable.”

■   Perhaps a greater challenge for Cassidy: wringing out more goals across the batting order.

As of Wednesday morning, the Bruins ranked 11th in the league in total goals with 37.

However, 22 of Boston’s goals have come from Pastrnak (11), Bergeron (7), and Marchand. All other Boston forwards through 12 games had only 14 goals. Yeesh. No one’s gettin’ fat ’cept Mama Cass.

Cassidy made it clear that he is frustrated with the lack of competition level from some forwards, particularly young guys. He gave both Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork extended pine time in the second period. Another week of low temps among the popgun kids and he could be punching in 401 for help from Providence.

“It wasn’t Bergy, Marsh, or Pasta,” said Cassidy, explaining his line shuffling, which included bumping Pastrnak over to David Krejci’s right wing. “They bring it every night. They might have the odd off-night, but it was more about some other guys not doing their part.”

By his count, Cassidy went with “eight or nine’” forwards for the back half of the second period. The other three or four entered remedial goal-scoring class.


“Let ’em watch for a while,” said Cassidy, “and get them excited to play again. I don’t know if it worked or not. Third period, we used everybody. It’s a good learning curve for ’em, I think, to understand what it takes.”

■   A fine re-entry for Torey Krug, who made his season debut, his first game that counts since wrecking an ankle in Game 4 vs. Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Skated well. Limited any rust issues by keeping shifts short. Added an assist, setting up the 1-1 equalizer with a short dish that Pastrnak ripped home from an angle so flat that not even Pythagoras could detect it.

“He was probably my last option there,” noted Krug. “I wanted to hit [Ryan] Donato right away. I wanted to hit Marshy after that. Just wanted to make sure we got a good quality chance out of it — a great shot by [Pastrnak]. He doesn’t like very much getting those from that angle, so I didn’t want to give it to him. But that’s what good players do — they make something out of those opportunities.”

It was Pastrnak’s 11th goal, a pace that would shatter the career-high 35 he potted last season.

■   Free agent pickup John Moore is providing solid ice time, about 19 minutes with a plus-7, but the ex-Devils blue liner has chipped in with but one assist. For a guy with his silken skating stride and ample minutes, the Bruins need him to deliver a touch more back there.


But again, lots of missing parts back there, including McAvoy, Kevan Miller, and Matt Grzelcyk, all of whom figured in the starting six-pack headed into the season.

■   Donato has only 12 shots on net in 11 games. Cassidy will have to get more out of him soon or it would be better for the ex-Harvard standout to try to regain his Crimson form with time in Providence. He is a big league shooter, but needs to fight more for pucks, leading to more chances to let it rip.

■   David Backes, chugging his way back from yet another concussion, could be in the lineup Saturday night in Nashville. But where? Man of a Thousand-Hats Joakim Nordstrom looks like a better fit at No. 3 center. Cassidy might consider bumping Backes up to the penthouse, letting him ride with Bergeron and Marchand and putting Marchand with Krejci.

Your faithful puck chronicler still would like to see Sean Kuraly get at least one game’s worth of reps at right wing on the first two lines. Wind him up and let him go. Then again, your faithful puck chronicler hasn’t put one in the net since the days when ice rented for $50 an hour. It’s lonely out here. Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it’s cold as hell.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.