Marchand, Backes carry Bruins to comeback win

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Heading into Game 1, a lot of people were wondering about the contract numbers for Brad Marchand and David Backes. For at least one night, they made people focus on their numbers on the ice.

The makeshift trio of Backes, Marchand and David Pastrnak powered the Boston Bruins’ 6-3 comeback victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

It’s almost hard to believe that Columbus held a 3-1 lead during the contest.

Just look at the numbers that trio put up:

Marchand: two goals, three assists
Pastrnak: two goals, two assists
Backes: two goals, one assist

Yes, Pastrnak inflated things a touch with an empty-netter, but it was a dominant performance.

Fresh off a beefy contract extension and an impressive showing in the World Cup of Hockey, Marchand was especially dominant on opening night.

Stephanie “My Regular Face” shared a GIF with the overhead view of maybe his best moment:

Wow.

The Bruins have a long way to go before they silence some critics and return to the playoffs, but they got off to the right foot tonight, and they did it thanks to two of their most expensive pieces.

Bruins to start season without Bergeron, McQuaid and Miller

MONTREAL, QC - MAY 12: Kevan Miller #86 of the Boston Bruins shoots the puck against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Six of the Second Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on May 12, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins will have to start their season without star center Patrice Bergeron and two defensemen, Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller.

Via team press release, here’s why:

Bergeron suffered a lower-body injury and is currently being evaluated on a day-to-day basis. He will not travel with the team to Columbus. McQuaid suffered an upper-body injury and is currently being evaluated on a day-to-day basis. He will not travel with the team to Columbus.

Miller underwent successful surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand by Dr. Matthew Leibman at Newton-Wellesley Hospital on Tuesday, October 11. Miller’s expected recovery time is six weeks.

The B’s also play Saturday in Toronto and Monday in Winnipeg before returning home to take on New Jersey on Thursday.

Update:

The injuries to the two defenseman, Miller and McQuaid, could mean that both Brandon Carlo and Rob O’Gara make their NHL debuts Thursday against the Jackets.

The B’s also announced today that they’ve recalled forward Tim Schaller from AHL Providence.

Related: Bruins hope to rebound with help of ‘new blood’

Bruins hope to rebound with help of ‘new blood’

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 27:  Brandon Carlo poses after being selected 37th overall by the Boston Bruins during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 27, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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BOSTON (AP) The Boston Bruins’ plan for making the playoffs this season involves adding young talent around their veteran core.

The Bruins, who missed the postseason the past two seasons, open the regular season on Thursday on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Their lineup could feature at least three rookies: Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Rob O’Gara and forwards Danton Heinen and Austin Czarnik, who is returning from a concussion suffered last weekend, have made the opening night roster.

Having first-year players to support the group of veterans highlighted by captain Zdeno Chara, forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and goaltender Tuukka Rask advances the plan general manager Don Sweeney put forth when he took over in the summer of 2015.

“That’s kind of been the plan is to try and do a better job with drafting and then do as good a job as we can developing and then seeing where that shakes out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said Tuesday during a news conference at Warrior Ice Arena.

“This training camp we probably had a couple surprises as far as guys stepping up a little earlier than maybe we anticipated. But that’s the thing that Don expressed when we interviewed him for the position about drafting, developing, getting these guys to understand the type of hockey we want them to play.”

The Bruins supplemented their veteran core by signing forward David Backes and backup goaltender Anton Khudobin as unrestricted free agents in the offseason.

But the major story in training camp was the emergence of the inexperienced players. O’Gara, Carlo and Heinen are first-year professionals, while Czarnik is in his second year of pro hockey.

A core that’s five years removed from winning the Stanley Cup could benefit from the rookies’ talent and their energy.

“We don’t give free passes to anybody,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “When they show they can play here, we give them the opportunity. We’re patient with them just like anybody else. When they make mistakes, we understand they have less experience and that’s where you’ve got work with them.

“It’s exciting there’s new blood. I think it’s exciting for the players too, the veterans. They’ve talked about it, they really feel that those guys want to be part of this hockey club and want to blend in.”

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs also said his goal for this season is to see his team return to the playoffs.

More: Jacobs expects B’s to go ‘deep into the playoffs’

But the Bruins are still trying to strike a balance between becoming winners again and making sure they don’t mortgage their future.

“We certainly don’t want to stray away from what we think is going to build us for some long-term success,” Neely said. “We feel like we’re on the path to do this in a way that’s going to give us some success for a long period of time. You’d like it sooner rather than later and we’ve had some surprises here at this particular camp.

“Who knows where it’ll end up by the end of the year, but I certainly feel like we’ve got some good young players who are knocking on the door or a couple years away from making an impact on our club while the core is still in a position to play at the level they’re currently playing at.”

Bruins’ defense in flux: McQuaid, Miller hurt; Ehrhoff says good-bye

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 10: Adam McQuaid #54 of the Boston Bruins prepares for a faceoff against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on March 10, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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The regular season hasn’t even started yet, and already the Boston Bruins are facing issues on defense.

Per CSN’s Joe Haggerty, Adam McQuaid is “day-to-day” with an unspecified injury while Kevan Miller is being evaluated after getting hurt Saturday.

On top of that, Christian Ehrhoff will not be signing with the B’s after his PTO. He’s gone back to Germany, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

Boston opens its regular season Thursday in Columbus. If neither McQuaid nor Miller are ready to go, expect to see one of Brandon Carlo or Rob O’Gara in the lineup.

The Bruins are currently carrying nine defensemen. In addition to McQuaid, Miller, and the two rookies, Carlo and O’Gara, there’s Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, John-Michael Liles, Colin Miller and Joe Morrow.

Related: The Bruins need Colin Miller to make an impact

Did Ehrhoff do enough to earn a contract from the Bruins?

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 27: Christian Ehrhoff #10 of Team Europe looks on against Team Canada during the second period during Game One of the World Cup of Hockey final series at Air Canada Centre on September 27, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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After being part of a Team Europe that surprised many during the World Cup of Hockey tournament, Christian Ehrhoff earned himself a PTO with the Boston Bruins.

If you’re a defenseman looking for work, you could do worse than joining the Bruins.

Boston is certainly in need of young, puck moving defensemen and although Ehrhoff isn’t young, he can still move the puck somewhat effectively.

The 34-year-old scored in his preseason debut against the Canadiens last week and managed to put together a decent camp.

“I thought overall I played pretty good,” said Ehrhoff, per CSN New England.

“For me it’s a chance to prove that I can still play in this league and I just took it day-by-day and tried to do my best out there. That’s what I did. I put it all on the line, and now I wait and see.”

The veteran blue liner has moved a lot over the last couple of years, as he’s played for Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Los Angeles in the last three seasons.

Although Boston isn’t very deep on the back end, they still have seven defensemen on one-way contracts, which means Ehrhoff has to beat one of them out or the team has to be willing to keep eight guys.

If they don’t go with eight, the only player Ehrhoff may realistically have a chance to supplant is 23-year-old Joe Morrow.

The team would have to pay Morrow his full $800,000 salary if they send him to the minors, but it wouldn’t count on the salary cap.

But for a team looking to get younger on D, does that kind of move really make sense? Not really.

This might be Ehrhoff’s final NHL opportunity. If he fails to make the Bruins, he might look to return to Europe.

If he can’t latch on in the NHL this year, don’t feel too bad for him. Thanks to a compliance buyout from the Sabres in 2014, he’ll earn just over $857,000 per year until 2027-28.

Regardless, a final decision should be made before Tuesday evening.