The Boston Bruins got a head start on their season last night, and it was a performance they want to forget about rather quickly. The Washington Capitals on a night they rose their championship banner, proceeded to stomp the Bruins on home ice. The Capitals scored early and didn’t let up, as they scored 7 goals to 0 goals for the Bruins. There was little effort from the Bruins from the drop of the puck. Head coach Bruce Cassidy made it pretty clear following the game that was upset with how their core didn’t show any effort all night long.
Leaders like Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron were nowhere to be found. Having back-to-back games is never fun, but this might be the best-case scenario for the Bruins. Instead of sitting back and dwelling on the loss, the Bruins will be able to get right back on the ice. If they look back on last night, they’re going to find themselves with a record of 0-2 to open the 2018-19 season.
Tuukka Rask got pulled after allowing 5 goals on 19 shots. Halak replaced Rask to allow 2 goals in 19 shots. It was certainly an off night for Rask, who will get the night off in Buffalo. The Bruins will go through with the original plan of starting Halak tonight on the back-to-back. It wasn’t just Rask, though, it was a porous effort all the way around.
Dating back to the playoffs last season, the Bruins have lost their previous five games. They head into Buffalo for a meeting with a Sabres team who will play in their opener on Thursday night. The Sabres finished last season with a record of 25-45-12. A terrible blow in a year that the Sabres were hoping to see progress. Jack Eichel will head into his fourth-year with plenty of pressure on his back. Management added help in the offseason, but we’ll see how it all goes together. Get our free Bruins vs. Sabres pick below.
Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
The Sabres have a new look this season. Eichel is back, but there are plenty of new faces like Jeff Skinner, Conor Sheary, and Patrik Berglund. They also added a new goaltender to the roster, Carter Hutton. Hutton who looked sharp with the St. Louis Blues a year ago will get a chance as a starting netminder in Buffalo. Hutton has been a lifelong backup beginning in 2013-14 with the Nashville Predators.
That season was actually the most starts he’s gotten in his career, 34. He finished with a GAA of 2.62 and 0.910 save percentage. Hutton spent the last two seasons with the Blues and was asked to fill in for a struggling Jake Allen 32 times last season. He concluded the year with a stellar 2.09 GAA and 0.931 save percentage.
There is a disclaimer that comes with Hutton, though. The Sabres intend to use him as their starter, a role he has never taken on in his career. Secondly, Hutton has played on a quality team his entire career. Now, he heads to a team that is coming off a 25-45-12 season, who are depending on him to be the No. 1. We saw what happened to Brian Elliott when he left St. Louis. Expect Hutton to see plenty of pressure tonight against the Bruins. Following that performance against the Caps, the Bruins likely come out with a hard effort against the Sabres.
The Sabres finished at the back of the league in almost all categories. Notably, they allowed 3.39 goals per game for 29th, while scoring just 2.41 goals per game for 31st. It wasn’t a pretty season, hence a lot of retooling on their roster. At least initially, the Sabres are likely going to have some issues working together. It might take a little time for them not to gel. This is a team searching for an identity. The Bruins have to be embarrassed with their lack of effort on Wednesday. Look for them to respond with a much better effort in Buffalo.