Bruins takeaways: Marchand brings intensity, Heinen raises stock in shootout loss to Flyers

Brad Marchand pestered the Flyers throughout Friday's shootout loss at TD Garden.

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand (63) checks Philadelphia Flyers' Victor Mete (98) during the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Boston.
Brad Marchand dropped Victor Mete with a heavy check on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The Bruins came up short in a back-and-forth contest against the Flyers on Friday, with Boston dropping a 4-3 shootout loss at TD Garden. David Pastrnak (twice) and Danton Heinen scored for the Bruins, while Linus Ullmark made 32 saves in the loss.

Here are a few takeaways from Boston’s preseason loss against Philadelphia:

Marchand, Pastrnak as advertised 

With the start of the regular season less than two weeks away, several key cogs in Boston’s lineup made their preseason debuts on Friday night, including Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, and Pavel Zacha.

While most of the focus during preseason play tends to be fixated on blue-chip prospects and roster battles brewing further down in the lineup, Boston’s stars delivered against the Flyers.


Pastrnak was knocked for a turnover in the first period that paved the way for Joel Farabee’s opening tally, but the star winger made up for the miscue with a pair of goals.

Even with Boston’s top-power play unit due for some turnover following Patrice Bergeron’s retirement, Pastrnak’s shot and creativity with the puck should keep the Bruins’ man advantage humming along.

Marchand, taking to the Garden ice for the first time since getting named captain, didn’t land on the scoresheet. But even with his new title, Marchand was the same old agitator against the Flyers, with a heavy hit against Victor Mete waking up Boston amid a sleepy start.

Marchand later drew a penalty in the final minute of play after tussling with both Joel Farabee and Travis Sanheim in a sequence that looked like something found in a Game 7 of the playoff series — rather than Game 3 of preseason action. 

McAvoy led all Bruins skaters in ice time (24:34), while Pavel Zacha logged 18:57 of reps in his first look as one of Boston’s top-six centers. He won’t be able to replicate Bergeron’s production at the bumper spot, but Zacha’s standing as a left-shot forward should give Boston’s power play a different wrinkle this winter. 

Danton Heinen puts his best foot forward

After a relatively quiet showing against the Sabres on Tuesday, Danton Heinen elevated his stock on Friday as he tries to secure a contract during camp.


Skating next to Marchand and Matt Poitras, Heinen gave Boston a 3-2 lead at 15:00 in the second period, snapping a puck through Cal Petersen’s five-hole off a slick feed from Kevin Shattenkirk.

Heinen nearly gave Boston the lead once again in the closing minutes of the third off a nice feed from Georgii Merkulov, but his one-time shot was batted aside by a diving Petersen.

At this stage of camp, it looks like Morgan Geekie and Trent Frederic have the inside edge for two starting spots on Boston’s third line. But the other vacancy on the wing in that crucial bottom-six spot still seems to be up for grabs.

Heinen — currently on a PTO deal — figures to be in the mix, while Jesper Boqvist earned high praise from Jim Montgomery on Tuesday in Buffalo.

Postgame, Heinen said that he hasn’t felt like he’s played his best hockey so far through two preseason contests.

“You put pressure on yourself because you wanna be part of it so badly,” Heinen said of making the team. “I’ve put this jersey on before. I know how special it is.”


While Heinen was solid in his second preseason outing, fellow PTO candidate Alex Chiasson struggled to make the same impact. Chiasson’s most sizable impact might be found on the power play, but he whiffed on two Grade-A looks at the netfront in the opening period of play.

Lohrei, Poitras both continue to show flashes of potential

Bruins fans still shouldn’t be getting ready to order their Poitras and Lohrei sweaters over at the Garden Pro Shop — as both promising prospects still have a steep uphill climb when it comes to breaking camp with the NHL roster on Oct. 11.

Still, both blue-chippers are continuing to make the most of the featured roles that the Bruins seem committed to handing them during preseason action.

After logging more than 25 minutes of ice time on Tuesday in Buffalo, Lohrei skated on Boston’s top D pairing next to McAvoy on Friday, logging 20:03 in the loss. Even with some expected lapses in the D-zone, Lohrei’s poise with the puck was put on display throughout the night, especially along the offensive blue line.

Perhaps the most encouraging development for Lohrei was his ability to escape pressure and generate clean breakouts in Boston’s own zone.

“I thought he made good plays with the puck,” Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco said of Lohrei’s performance. “Obviously he’s a big kid that moves pretty well — especially laterally. He moves well side-to-side. He was noticeable at times at the O-zone blue line. He did some good things. And we’re continuing to work with him on his play away from the puck.”


After posting two points in his preseason debut against the Rangers last weekend, Poitras skated with Marchand and Heinen on Friday, finishing with 17:04 of ice time. He nearly set up a netfront goal for Merkulov in the second period with a slick cross-ice feed.

As expected, the 19-year-old center was knocked around by the Flyers as Friday’s game carried on. But even with that physical mismatch against NHL competition, Poitras regularly hovered around the crease and didn’t shirk away from board battles.

“He stands in there. He’s not afraid. He plays with courage,” Sacco said of Poitras. “He made some good plays out there tonight, he had some good looks.

“And then, obviously, there’s other times where you can see that towards the end of his shift at times he runs out of gas and that’s the difference at this level — is being able to maintain that that energy, that high pace, especially at the end of your shift. Being able to manage that and make the right decisions with the puck. But overall, there’s some good things out there.”

Among the Bruins rookies and prospects looking to remain in the picture over these final 10+ days of training camp, Lohrei, Poitras, and Johnny Beecher have continued to stand out the most with the reps handed to them.

Loose pucks

Even with one power-play tally on four opportunities, Boston made life miserable for Philly’s PK unit on Friday thanks to some crisp passing and a variety of seams opening up around the slot. But as teams continue to focus most of their attention on Pastrnak and his potent shot, Boston will likely need both Zacha and Marchand to start putting more pucks on net.



Jakub Lauko did what he could to state his case for a starting spot in Boston’s bottom-six group on Friday — injecting some energy into the building with a spirited scrap with Louie Belpedio immediately after both skaters exited the sin bin.

Lauko continues to make things happen whenever he hops over the boards, with the winger also logging 2:44 of reps on the penalty kill against Philly. Fellow fourth-line candidate A.J. Greer also had a stronger game in his second preseason go-around.


Some good and bad from new Bruins blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk. His feed to Heinen on the winger’s second-period tally was impressive, but he also had a few sequences where he was caught flat-footed in Boston’s D-zone.


Quite the call-back on Ullmark’s new centennial-season mask.


The Bruins will continue their preseason slate on Monday night when they take on the Flyers in Philadelphia. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.


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