In today’s NHL, we may never see a team like the Big, Bad Bruins of the 1970s. Their descendants from earlier this decade would even be hard to replicate these days.
But the 2021 Bruins have enough brawn in their lineup to impose their will on more than a few teams and that’s what they did to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night at the Garden.
The new heavy line of Trent Frederic (first NHL point, two drawn penalties that led to power-play goals), Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith (a goal apiece) had a hand in the team’s first three goals and four of the half-dozen to lead the B’s to a 6-1 win over the Flyers.
We’ll see how the new-look B’s hold up later in the week when they play old friend Zdeno Chara and Washington Capitals. But for a team that’s been focused on getting beefier since the trade deadline last season, Saturday’s win had to have been gratifying.
“Philly’s a big team, and I thought we pushed them hard tonight ... We’re going to try to do that every night,” said coach Bruce Cassidy.
If there were fans allowed in the building, the rookie Frederic would already be a Garden favorite. But he’s surely finding his way into the hearts of the folks viewing from home — and he’s definitely making an impression on those in the Bruin dressing room.
“His abrasiveness, we welcome it,” said Cassidy. “It’s one of the things we talked to him about. You don’t have to go out there and be a goof. But get to the net, finish your check, be ornery, piss some people off. Whatever it takes. And I think he’s bought into all those things.”
Said his new centerman Coyle: “He’s earned everything he’s gotten. He’s gotten better and better as the weeks have gone by. And he’s making a difference.”
The B’s played a very good first period and got on the board first on a power-play goal from Patrice Bergeron.
Craig Smith scored for Boston to make it 2-1 and Coyle scored on an assist from Frederic to make it 3-1.
That gave Frederic his first NHL point and, in just two periods of action, served notice that his line with Coyle and Smith could be something to watch in this season.
Brad Marchand added a couple of third-period goals — one even strength, one power-play — and Bergeron got his second power-play goal to give the B’s their first regulation win of the season, and a comfortable one at that.