GLENDALE, Ariz. — One of the biggest positives from last season’s deep playoff run is the experience it gave the team’s younger players.
Playing in tense, high-pressure situations can only help going forward. And those players now can be trusted late in games. In two one-goal contests to open the Bruins’ season, there have been plenty of tense situations.
“We’re paid to win, but we want to put young guys out there so they’re comfortable,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “So we’re always balancing that. Do you constantly put your veteran guys out there or allow these (young) guys to learn on the fly? I do believe we’ve allowed them to learn on the fly.”
Karson Kuhlman was on the ice late in the opener in Dallas, and he’s earned trust on the penalty kill at times because of his responsible defensive game. Young players like Kuhlman — he’s only played in 21 regular-season games, despite earning time during the Stanley Cup Final — can build confidence by being trusted in those late situations.
“Every day I have to come here and keep building that,” Kuhlman said. “It’s a big part of my game. I want to get pucks out and gain everybody’s trust out there, especially late.”
The Bruins have veteran players like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand who are always going to be on the ice, but having more options at forward can rest those guys as well.
They have a group of defensively responsible players like Danton Heinen and Chris Wagner, who get those chances as well. Heinen is only in his third year but has also earned that trust.
“Some of the guys we use now, (Sean) Kuraly will be out there, (Matt Grzelcyk), we try to build that into their game so they are comfortable,” Cassidy said. “We’ve got a few more to build in, I think Jake (DeBrusk) is one of those guys, he’s someone we should start getting more comfortable with like we did with (David) Pastrnak.”
Bruins move to 2-0-0
On Saturday night, Brad Marchand scored the game’s only goal late in the first period and Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves as the Bruins blanked the Arizona Coyotes, 1-0.
The win was Boston’s 15th straight against the Coyotes.
The Bruins have allowed just one goal in their first two games this season, facing the two teams tied with the third fewest goals a season ago. They’ve taken advantage of that, with only three goals of their own so far, and just two of them during five-on-five play.
“(Halak) was good, like Tuukka (Rask) the other night (against Dallas),” Cassidy said. “Not a lot of rebounds issues, pucks were sticking to him. I think we did a good job clearing the ones that didn’t. ... A couple of things we weren’t clean on, but he was real good.”
The Bruins survived a late onslaught from the Coyotes, with Halak stopping 13 third-period shots. Boston’s four-game road trip continues with their third contest on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
Center David Krecji made his return in Arizona, where he played more than 15 minutes, but had a bit of rust after being injured in the preseason.
“Not 100 percent,” Cassidy said. “He hasn’t practiced a ton recently. There’s some rust there. He’s just got to play through it, just like a lot of guys that didn’t play a lot in preseason.”
Cassidy said center Joakim Nordstrom skated Saturday and felt better, and if he can get into practice Monday, he might play at the end of the road trip. ...
Cassidy also said that defenseman Kevan Miller is skating again, but fellow D-man John Moore remains out until at least late November.