A few observations from a successful Bruins opener

Danton Heinen’s first-period goal was cause for celebration.
Danton Heinen’s first-period goal was cause for celebration.ronald martinez/Getty/Getty Images

GLENDALE, Ariz. — It’s far too early in the Bruins season to worry about anything. The first few weeks can be sloppy. Players are shaking off rust. This certainly applies to the team’s top offensive players.

The No. 1 power-play unit — Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Torey Krug, and Jake DeBrusk — had all of one game together in the preseason, against a collection of Chicago’s AHL players. Whether it was mere lack of reps or something else, they didn’t show much Thursday in the season-opening 2-1 win over the Stars in Dallas.

They went scoreless. Neither Pastrnak nor Krug landed a shot. DeBrusk produced the No. 1 power-play’s only shot on goal. The power play as a whole put three on net, going 1 for 4.


They’ll be fine, and a solid counterpoint here is that the scoring depth so lacking in the past helped lift the Bruins to a win. Give it 10 games and see if they’re still off-kilter.

■   Not saying Brandon Carlo has arrived as an offensive defenseman, but he looked as confident as ever: skating pucks out of trouble in the final minutes of a one-goal game, wheeling around the net on his backhand, and getting to the red line in a hurry, putting it deep and changing instead of forcing anything (and he did enter the zone with the puck a couple times). Recall last Oct. 20 in Vancouver, when he fumbled at the offensive blue line, letting Bo Horvat score an OT winner. Parking those kind of mistakes will help.

■   Same old Chris Wagner. The Mayor of Walpole, who broke his arm blocking a Justin Faulk slapper last May, sealed the win by stuffing Joe Pavelski and clearing the puck in the final seconds. Wagner had groin trouble last spring. He had springs in his legs Thursday, and was rewarded for it.


The Bruins’ five-on-six skaters, with the Dallas net empty in the last 90 seconds, were Marchand, Coyle, Bergeron, Wagner, Sean Kuraly, McAvoy, Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, and Zdeno Chara. Credit Wagner, who had a 1:11 shift in the final two minutes, for climbing into Bruce Cassidy’s trust tree.

■   Marchand may have gone pointless, but his shot-block on John Klingberg in the final minute was crucial.

■   Charlie Coyle initiated contact on every shift. That sense of urgency translated to his playmaking. Last spring, he sometimes displayed too much of his puck-possession skills. He was on the attack Thursday. A big payday is coming for the impending free agent if he continues to do so.

■   Not only did David Krejci’s absence give Brett Ritchie a spot in the lineup, but it put him on the second power-play unit. And he scored an even-strength goal just 1:09 in. Pretty productive for less than 13 minutes of work.

Unless Krejci is 100 percent, resting him Saturday against Arizona wouldn’t be a bad idea. Cassidy could see more of what he has in new additions Par Lindholm and Ritchie, while giving Coyle a bit more responsibility.

■   I have Dallas winning the Central. Fast. Deep. High entertainment value. Pavelski was one of the summer’s best UFA signings. Roope Hintz, a breakout player last postseason, is a monster. Miro Heiskanen will win a Norris Trophy sooner than later. Am I sold on goaltender Ben Bishop? I am not.


■   Good to see Roman Polak out of the hospital. The Stars defenseman, who went hard into the boards while trying to check Wagner, suffered what the team called “a small fracture of his sternum.” He will be evaluated in one week.

■   Congrats to the Coyotes for finally acquiring that American-born, former Toronto star they’ve coveted for years. Phil Kessel, currently riding with Clayton Keller and Derek Stepan on the No. 1 line, should give Arizona some of the scoring punch it desperately needed last year.

I doubt it’ll be enough to get the Coyotes to the postseason, since Kessel thrived in Pittsburgh in a supporting role. Maybe someday Auston Matthews will lead them to the promised land.

■   Arizona goalie Antti Raanta is hurt, so Darcy Kuemper is in line to face the Bruins. Arizona was a 2-1 loser at Anaheim Thursday.

■   Small thing I enjoyed: Krug catching a puck on the power play, then tossing a behind-the-back pass to himself. You don’t see that every day.

■   Similarly, the last time the Bruins were in Dallas, last Nov. 16, Connor Clifton made fun of something as mundane as a line change. On one of his first NHL shifts, he skated across the ice, from the far side to the Bruins bench, and in one motion, planted both hands on the dasher, vaulted over the boards and did a 180-degree turn into his seat on the bench. “I do that sometimes,” he said. Cliffy Hockey is delightfully unorthodox.


Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports