The good: Phil Kessel is averaging a goal per game with 6 on the season, including 3 PPGs and one game-winner against the Senators. The former Masterton Trophy winner was bumped up to share the first line with Marc Savard during Monday night's home opener. Savard now has 5 goals and 4 assists on the season for 9 total points, and the combination of his playmaking ability with Kessel's hot stick on the first line (along with Milan Lucic's dominant physical presence) makes for a fearsome offensive presence that, in last night's game against the Sabres, was able to consistently control the puck and outskate defenders (Kessel, Savvy, and Lucic combined for 6 shots on goal). I spent a great deal of last season complaining about the Bruins' reliance on the slap shot (I know, I know, everyone loves 'em but you have to use them judiciously dammit) and it's heartening to see Claude Julien sticking to his guns and encouraging the B's to concentrate on making plays and to be more judicious with their shots.
The bad: Frankly, this defense worries me. They've demonstrated an ability to shut down key players like Montreal's Alex Kovalev and Buffalo's Thomas Vanek, but opposing teams across the board have been able to sustain offensive pressure without much in the way of challenges for far too long each game. Andrew Ference has been the only consistent playmaker thus far, and both Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez have both been way too busy in the net. It's great to see Thomas getting 30 saves a night, sure, but I'd rather not see him getting 33 shots on goal a night. (Those of you who are really super amazing at math will note that this means 3 goals per night.)
Upcoming games against the Leafs, Thrashers, Oilers, and Canucks should hopefully mean a chance to boost our record over .500 as we close out the first month of this season.
Play of the week: Not that it ultimately did us any good, but David Krejci scored an absolutely beautiful goal in the 3rd round of the shootout last night: he moved in at super-low speed, cool as a cucumber, and flipped a textbook wrist shot up over Ryan Miller to keep the Bruins alive in the shootout. If -- and this is a big if -- the Bruins are to overcome their persistent shootout woes, the key will be shots like this: quick, reflexive, and simple. Krejci's up at around the 2:54 mark:
Fight of the week: Our very first (!) fight against Montreal of the season, just seconds into last Wednesday's game. Shawn Thornton takes on Georges Laraque: