Eleven players hit the ice, along with the assistant coaches. Kevan Miller, Joonas Kemppainen and David Pastrnak were not among those skates.
All three missed time towards the end of Tuesday’s game for precautionary reasons, given the score against the Coyotes.
Miller went awkwardly into the boards with about five minutes left in the second period after getting hooked. The blueliner returned to the bench and took two shifts at the end of the second, but did not play any minutes in the third.
Kemppainen (undisclosed) only took four shifts in the third period and left the bench for a while, though he came back to finish out the game.
Pastrnak got hit with a shot towards the end of the third and his last logged ice time came with about nine minutes left in the game.
“Well, they’re still being evaluated,” Head Coach Claude Julien said on Wednesday from the B’s practice rink. “I don’t have an update on them right now. Still being evaluated. I think it’s still too early to give a diagnosis, as far as how serious it is or how non-serious it is. So I’ll have a better idea [Thursday].”
Two-Way Game Rounding Out
The Bruins produced their best effort of the season on Tuesday with their 6-0 shutout of Arizona.
After starting the season 0-3 with 16 goals against, they are now 4-0-1 in their past five games.
They look much tighter defensively, and the forwards are working hard to backcheck and help the defense by providing layers of coverage.
“I think, first and foremost, we took care of the puck and managed the game well,” said Torey Krug of the 6-0 win. “And that starts in our own zone with our goalie, moving the puck a lot better than we have been, then getting the puck out at the bluelines and chipping it in when we can. So it’s about game management.”
Tuukka Rask helped out with his solid play between the pipes, but the Bruins altogether have been looking much more in sync.
“Our guys are starting to feel more comfortable with what’s going on out there and it makes a big difference,” said Julien. “There’s less hesitation, there’s less second-guessing, and everyone seems to be more on the same page.”
“That normally happens with time playing together and guys are getting used to — not necessarily the system, but our game plan and reading off of each other a lot better, and when you’ve got that many new faces, every once in a while, you’re going to encounter that at the start of the season, so it’s nice to see us heading in the right direction.”
“We seem to be getting better all of the time, so hopefully we continue to improve and become a better team.”
While the defense suffered at the outset, the offense has been consistently improving. Boston is ranked second behind Montreal with 33 goals.
“We’ve improved our game as far as pushing the pace quicker up front,” said Julien. “We’re moving the puck a lot quicker from our back end. Our forwards are getting more speed through the neutral zone.”
The Bruins are always producing off the rush.
“Guys like Loui [Eriksson] take advantage of that,” said Julien. “I think everybody so far is taking advantage of the fact that we’ve got a little bit more speed through the neutral zone and it’s certainly helped create stuff offensively.”
All of the lines have been creating opportunities — and cashing in on them.
“It’s always nice to see that,” said Julien. “It’s only been the start of the season here, and hopefully we can build on the things we’ve been doing here lately. We’ve been pretty good. So hopefully we can continue doing that and keep winning games. We know it’s a real good trip coming up here against Florida and Tampa, so we’re going to have to be ready to get on the road here and try and get more wins.”
“Our team’s scoring a lot of goals right now and we’re getting a lot of shots on net,” said Jimmy Hayes. “We’re generating a lot of chances and guys are capitalizing on their chances, so I think that’s going to be key in our success.”
Eriksson, Krejci Clicking
To start the season, Eriksson and David Krejci are on a roll. They hadn’t been on a line together to begin the new campaign, with Eriksson playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, but as of late, Eriksson has been finding chemistry on Krejci’s left wing.
“There’s no doubt David as a right shot, his tendency will be to look to his left, but I think David’s off to a great year, too, so that helps. I think so is Loui,” said Julien. “So both of them are playing well right now.”
“They seem to be clicking a lot better. So just like the rest of our lines, we’re scoring — not just from one line, but we’ll getting a lot of scoring from all of our lines so far and that’s, I think, been the difference, but those guys — they seems to enjoy playing together and that makes a big difference in how they do, but they’re both off to great starts, so I think they’re just riding that wave right now.”
“We’re playing with some confidence,” said Eriksson. “Krech has been on fire ever since the start of the season, so it’s always easy to play when you’re really playing with confidence. It’s been working pretty good here, the games we’ve been playing together.”
“Every time he has the puck on his blade, he can make passes or make moves, and he’s just a great all around player, so it makes it easy for me to play with him.”
“I think it’s been a little bit easier on the left side playing with him,” added Eriksson. “It feels like he can find me more often, and it’s been feeling a bit better, so it’s been good.”
Optional Practice Lineup 10/28
Coaches: Bob Essensa, Kim Brandvold, Doug Houda, Doug Jarvis, Joe Sacco
Forwards: Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleksey, Jimmy Hayes, Zac Rinaldo, Tyler Randell
Defensemen: Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow, Colin Miller
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson