NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to talk about the team’s hot start to the season.
The Bruins are 8-1-1 and two points behind the Devils for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. However, there is one area of play where the B’s definitely can improve.
“A big concern, of course, I think is the power play,” Pederson said. “These games right now, even though they’re off to the best start in franchise history in 10 games at 8-1-1, their power play is right near the bottom again. They got away with it in the Stanley Cup  run, but I don’t think you can do it two years in a row. They need to get their power play going. They’ve outplayed teams I think a lot more than the score shows.”
One of the Bruins’ most aggressive and controversial players is Brad Marchand . He is off to a great start, scoring six goals and recording one assist.
“Brad Marchand  is an extraordinarily important part of this hockey team,” Pederson said. “He helps set a lot of the energy. He’s a good specialty team guy, he’s great with his speed, backs off the other team’s defense. As we all know, as Bruins fans, if he was on the other team I don’t think we’d like him quite as much.”
Another key part to the team’s success is Andrew Ference . While the defenseman doesn’t always get the deserved recognition, he clearly is a critical part to the team.
“I think he is one of the most underrated players on this team,” Pederson said. “He’s more gifted offensively than he’s given credit for. He’s not necessarily big in stature, but he’ll stick his nose in there. He and [Adam] McQuaid are a very, very steady tandem out there. I think one through six on team defense the Bruins are as good as anybody. … He’s a guy that’s a good leader.”
On the Rangers, who play in Boston on Tuesday night: “They had a very slow start. I thought, uncharacteristically for them they were not playing a team-defense type of game. [Henrik] Lundqvist was struggling a little bit. But now all of a sudden, they’ve won five of seven, they’re back above .500.
“At the beginning of the season, remember, as we’ve talked, the Rangers, the Penguins  and the Bruins are the three favorites. So the Rangers are starting to get going right now. Last year, what I really liked about their team was that they were a tough team to play against. Their defense was big, strong, physical. To your point, they blocked a lot of shots. But they need to get some offense, some balanced offense.”
On Dougie Hamilton: “There’s so many guys on this team that can play that physical style of hockey. They stand up for each other. When the Bruins are playing their game they’re coming at you with three and four lines rolling. It’s really difficult for the opposing defense to try and play against them because [Milan] Lucic is taking the body, [Nathan] Horton is taking the body, [Chris] Kelly is taking the body. When those things are happening, that’s when the Bruins are playing their game.”
On Tim Thomas : “As I look back on Tim Thomas , I look back on very fond memories. He was a guy that came in around the same time as Claude Julien , helped turn this franchise around. The guy wins a couple of Vezina cups, couple of Vezina trophies, a Conn Smythe and a Stanley Cup , and probably had the greatest run that I think I’ve ever seen an individual have in that Stanley Cup year and was responsible for it. But with that being said, he also had the fortune of playing behind a really good defensive-minded team with Claude’s system.”