BOSTON — Hampus Lindholm stepped right into the Bruins lineup Thursday night and looked very much at home during his debut against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Swedish defenseman wasted no time showingcasing his impressive skill set by defending well in the d-zone, jumpstarting the rush up ice with clean breakout passes and even contributing offensively with four shots and an assist.
Sparked by Lindholm’s excellent two-way play and David Pastrnak’s hat trick, the Bruins defeated the two-time defending champs 3-2 at TD Garden to go ahead of Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division standings.
“I feel good. I love that feeling — a little butterflies and a little nervous getting out there. That’s why you play the game,” Lindholm said after the victory.
Lindholm’s stellar debut helps Bruins beat defending champs
“The fans here are unbelievable. I’ve got to say thank you to them first for supporting the whole game. It was so loud out there. It makes it more fun to play. It was good to get the first game under my belt and get the win. That’s huge for us.”
“The fans here are unbelievable. I’ve got to say thank you to them first for supporting the whole game. It was so loud out there. It makes it more fun to play.” — Hampus Lindholm on his #NHLBruins start pic.twitter.com/VEnQlO5uw2
—Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 25, 2022
The Bruins’ defensive system is a little different than what Lindholm was used to with the Anaheim Ducks, but he actually thinks Boston’s style is a better fit for him.
“Yeah for sure (there are adjustments). There were a few things in the defensive zone that were a little new,” Lindholm said.
“I think I like playing this way a little more because I like to be in front of the net and battling and boxing out. I feel like that plays to my strength. The way we play is better for me in a way, of course there will be some adjusting. It was good to get the first one under my belt.”
Lindholm played alongside Charlie McAvoy on Boston’s top pairing and they were dominant against the Lightning. The Bruins earned a 21-9 edge in shot attempts, a 12-2 advantage in shots and a 10-3 lead in scoring chances when the Lindholm-McAvoy duo was on the ice during 5-on-5 action, per Natural Stat Trick , and they did this primarily playing against the Lightning’s top line.
“He’s one of those guys anyone can play with. He’s such a good defenseman,” Lindholm said of McAvoy. “Everyone knows it and sees that. I hope we can develop something here and I can make him a better player, and he’s obviously going to make me a better player. I’m really excited about that.
“We have some really good defensemen in our squad. Everyone was making plays tonight, and you need all six guys playing like that if you’re going to win games. I’m super excited to be here.”
https://media.nbcboston.com/assets/editorial/national/2022/RSN/email-form/rsn-bos-email.htmlIt’s going to take some time for Lindholm to feel totally comfortable in the Bruins’ system and develop strong chemistry with McAvoy. But what’s already clear is he plays the type of mistake-free, two-way game the Bruins want from their top players, particularly on the blue line.
The Bruins have won 13 of their last 16 games and look every bit like a legit contender for the Stanley Cup. Depth on the blue line has been a fatal weakness for the Bruins in recent playoff runs, but with another top-four defenseman of Lindholm’s caliber in the mix, Boston is much better equipped to make a deep postseason run than it was in 2020 or 2021 .