BOSTON - The Bruins will continue their first homestand of the season on Monday afternoon when they welcome the Anaheim Ducks to TD Garden for a Columbus Day matinee. Boston, which is off to a 4-1-0 start, will have Jaroslav Halak between the pipes.
Like the Bruins, Anaheim is off to a fast start - posting a 4-1-0 record of their own -including a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. First-year coach Dallas Eakins appears to have made an impact in the early going as the Ducks have allowed just six goals through five games, the second-fewest in the NHL behind Philadelphia (five goals in three games).
"I watched them against Columbus the other night, they found a way to win. They stay in games, they're opportunistic," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "I guess on the surface they're like us, but I don't know them well enough to sit there and say they're the Boston Bruins of the West or not yet. We'll get a better idea of that tomorrow.
"But they've got some new energy, a new coach who probably changed a little bit of the dynamic there. They have some younger guys that he's worked with. There's some familiarity, so that probably makes it a little easier when you have that much turnover.
"Still have their veteran core, guys that are playing well. We'll have our hands full, but we'll be more focused on ourselves this time of year and make the adjustments."
So far, the Ducks have been paced by Ondrej Kase (goal, three assists) and Hampus Lindholm (four assists) offensively, with Jakob Silfverberg and Cam Fowler both chipping in two goals apiece. Goalie John Gibson is 3-1-0 with a 1.26 goals against average and .961 save percentage through four games. He is likely to get the start on Monday afternoon.
Anaheim also ranks third in the NHL on the penalty kill (93.8%), but is one of four teams yet to score a power-play goal.
"I haven't seen a ton of film on them yet," said Jake DeBrusk. "Definitely a defensive team. They're always hard to play against. They have big defensemen and big forwards as well, they play a physical game. It's one of those things where it's an afternoon game as well - they haven't played in a couple days, so they'll be ready to go."
Video: Cassidy looks ahead to Monday's game against Anaheim
After having a Karson Kuhlman goal wiped off the board - as well as DeBrusk's power-play tally - in Thursday's loss to Colorado, the Bruins' second line remains scoreless through the season's first five games. But with those disallowed markers in mind, as well as a combined nine shots on goal on Saturday night against New Jersey, David Krejci's trio believes its offensive game is beginning to emerge.
"I think our line overall is starting to find a little bit more success 5-on-5 and just generating chances," said DeBrusk. "It's something to build on I guess is the term. Now it's just about executing and finishing. Lots of good signs, but we try not to think too much about the statistics. It's about the work to get there and then when you do finally cash in it makes it that much better."
Video: DeBrusk talks about second line finding its offfense
The Bruins' fourth line, meanwhile, did cash in during Saturday's victory over the Devils with Joakim Nordstrom cashing in for his first goal of the season. The winger, playing in just his second game of the season, appears to have quickly regained his chemistry with linemates Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner.
"We know we have each other," said Nordstrom. "I think we're finding each other, too, and I think offensively today was better than Game 1, so we're going to build on that. I think the way we supported each other off the puck too has been [going] really well.
"We won those second efforts and found the loose puck [on the goal]. Sometimes the puck goes in, sometimes it doesn't, but if we keep winning battles, hopefully we can chip away here."
Video: Nordstrom goes 1-on-1 to talk about his first goal