Two teams with exciting rookies will go head-to-head for the second time on the young NHL season when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.
Boston moved to 5-0-0 with their 3-1 Sunday victory at Anaheim, which completed a three-game California sweep and extended its season-opening undefeated run to the second-longest in team history. Only the 1937-38 Bruins (6-0-0) had a better start.
Sunday’s star was 19-year-old Matthew Poitras, who scored his first two career goals in the third period to tie and win the game. Only four Bruins have recorded their first multi-goal game at a younger age over the past 30 years, including the team’s current leading scorer in David Pastrnak.
While Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have led the group offensively, Poitras made his mark in other areas of the game during a three-game stretch without a point.
“If you’re going to produce in this league, you’ve got to be willing to play inside the dots,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said.
“That’s what I love about him. Whether it’s one-on-one battles in the corners or getting to the hard areas, he’s willing to go to areas where you’re gonna have success.”
Prior to Sunday, Poitras had not recorded a point since assisting in Boston’s Oct. 11 season opener, a 3-1 win over Chicago. That night featured star Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard’s first NHL goal.
The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2023, Bedard has logged four points through his first six career games, including a goal just 1:30 into Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Vegas.
Putting the goal aside, it was a memorable home debut for Bedard.
“I’ve heard so many great things and obviously saw it in preseason … ” he said. “Just to finally get that real game and to see how energetic they are, how much they love us, it’s awesome and we couldn’t say more how much we appreciate it.”
Tuesday’s game completes Chicago’s first two-game homestand of the season.
Bedard’s goal was an energetic start Saturday, but a three-goal third period for Vegas did in the Blackhawks in their second straight loss and fourth in six games.
“We clawed and fought with a really good team for 40 minutes, it was just disappointing to start the third period like that,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “Playing from behind against an experienced, heavy team like that, it’s really wearing.”
The Bruins will look to continue their winning ways in Chicago, where they will cap a four-game trip before returning home for four beginning Thursday with a rematch against Anaheim.
The duo of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman has been key to Boston’s start. Ullmark has made three of the five starts. They have save percentages of .962 and .943, respectively.
“Our goaltending has been really good,” Montgomery said. “I think, probably, it’s why we’re unbeaten.”
Boston defenseman Derek Forbort (lower-body) is day-to-day, and forward Milan Lucic did not play against the Ducks after taking a shot off the ankle Saturday in Los Angeles.