Five Storylines to watch out for on NHL’s Opening Night Part 2

KeyBank Center prior to the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Washington Capitals. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
KeyBank Center prior to the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Washington Capitals. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /
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David Pastrnak (88)
David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

3. How will Boston cope without David Pastrnak?

The Boston Bruins open up their 2020-21 NHL season on the road at the New Jersey Devils tonight, but they will do so without their elite scorer David Pastrnak, who is still sidelined after undergoing hip surgery during the offseason. He is back on the ice and skating on his own, although he’s expected to be miss the first few weeks of the season.

Therefore, the Bruins will have to make do tonight without the man who scored 48 goals in 2019-20 and ended up sharing the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with Alex Ovechkin. The good news, however, is that Brad Marchand will be available tonight after making a quicker than expected recovery from hernia surgery in the offseason.

It is also expected that rookie Jack Studnicka, who was taken with the 53rd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, will skate on a line with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, and the prospect will have the opportunity to impress in Pastrnak’s absence.

No Pastrnak will certainly be a relief to the New Jersey Devils, who will be starting a new era of Devils hockey under new Head Coach Lindy Ruff. This is a big year for New Jersey who will need to see considerable improvement from their young core, including the likes of 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes, but it won’t help their case that they are stuck in an absolutely loaded East Division.

Players in the ilk of P.K. Subban, who put up just 18 points (7 G, 11 A) in 2019-20 in what was his debut season for the Devils, and more will be expected of the veteran defenseman who could play a big role under Ruff this season.

I’m most excited about seeing Jack Hughes in his second season, though, with the forward having bulked up during the offseason and seeming determined to put a disappointing rookie year, in which he recorded 21 points (7 G, 14 A) in 61 games with a plus / minus rating of -26, firmly in the rearview mirror. Hughes will center the top line for the Devils in Nico Hischier‘s absence and, if he can get off to a hot start against the Boston Bruins tonight, then it could be key to the New Jersey Devils getting off to a surprising start.