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Bruins Postgame Musings: Krejci Injured; Rask Solid In Preseason Debut

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The Boston Bruins began the home stretch of their six-game preseason slate Monday night at TD Garden with a 4-3 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Chris Wagner tied the game with 1:46 left in regulation and Jake Debrusk scored the overtime winner 2:35 into the extra frame.

Brad Marchand assisted on the DeBrusk winner and also scored the team’s second goal 1:03 into the second period. His linemate, David Pastrnak also assisted on the overtime winner and had the lone helper on Marchand’s second period tally. Rookie forward Jakub Lauko also scored for the Bruins and forward David Backes had two helpers.

In his first start of the preseason, goalie Tuukka Rask made 16 saves on 17 shots over the first two periods before being replaced by rookie Dan Vladar for the third period and overtime. Vladar stopped 12 of the 14 shots he faced.

Rask Solid In Preseason Debut

Rask didn’t show much rust in his preseason debut and had the Bruins in position to win as he left them with a 2-1 lead headed into the third period. The Konecny goal he allowed in the first period was more the result of a bad defensive breakdown in front of him, as opposed to a softy a goalie who hasn’t played since June 12, would understandably make. If this is what a rusty Rask looks like then the Bruins goalie could finally be in for a better October than the brutal ones he’s had the last few years.

Krejci Injured

Bruins veteran center David Krejci injured what appeared to be his knee early in the first period and left the game after only playing for just under two minutes (1:55). Krejci got tangled up in front of the Flyers net and appeared to twist his knee. The Bruins said he suffered a lower-body injury and he is day-to-day, but head coach Bruce Cassidy said that the did not believe the injury was serious.

“I don’t think he’s serious,” Cassidy said. “Took a hit early on, tried to keep playing but he just felt it was better
to not push through, it wasn’t worth it. Obviously we’ll know more tomorrow, but I don’t think
it’s serious.”

 

Can’t Break Up Top Line

The chemistry shown between Pastrnak and Marchand on Marchand’s second period goal was a perfect example of why it’s going to be awfully hard for Cassidy to break up the top line with those two highly skilled players and Patrice Bergeron when he’s ready to play. There will be clamoring for sure to move Pastrnak onto Krejcji’s right wing if Karson Kuhlman doesn’t work out there or if Don Sweeney can’t snag a scoring right winger through a trade, but that trio is just too good and too dependable not to have together and Marchand and Pastrnak proved that again on Monday.

Lauko Has Got Finesse

Lauko’s goal that put the Bruins up 1-0 9:32 into the opening frame was the perfect example of why the Bruins are hopeful that they may have gotten one of the steals of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft when they selected him in the third round (77th overall). The 19-year-old winger has got some dazzling speed and even more dazzling moves. If he can adapt to the smaller NHL rinks and play a better 200-foot game, he could very well end up being a player that the team’s amateur scouts will end up getting loads of credit for pushing the Bruins to draft.

“Yeah, that’s what he does. When he’s on his game, he’s moving his feet, he’s chipping and chasing, he’s a tough guy to stop,” Cassidy said of Lauko. “He’s got a nice shot, and can make some plays. He’s still learning the ropes away from the puck, when to… breakout situations, defensive zone situations. I think that’s perfectly normal at nineteen, that’ll be the challenge for him, to take care of the details. He’ll always be fast, he’ll always want to score, always be competitive, get under people’s skin. But for him, it’s learning how to play every night, maybe when the puck isn’t falling into those things that a lot of those young guys go through. So, it’s nice to have a guy like that. I don’t know where he’s going to end up right now, to be honest, as a nineteen-year-old, where he’ll play exactly this year. But he’s certainly done a nice job for us in his time here.”

 

Energy Line Should Be Great Again

Sean Kuraly and Wagner didn’t start the game on the same line but the two linemates from the ‘Energy Line’ of a year ago that also included forward Joakim Nordstrom, were back skating together after Krejci left and Cassidy moved Trent Frederic up onto the second line to replace him. Kuraly and Wagner connected on the tying goal that sent the game to overtime and the goal was a pure result of the hustle and tenacity both players have become known for. Kuraly hustled down the wing and then barreled over a Flyers defenseman before dishing the puck over to Wagner in the slot.

Backes Makes His Presence Felt

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Cassidy hasn’t pulled any punches when it comes to the uncomfortable situation the team and Backes find themselves in. The Bruins bench boss has made it very clear that Backes spot in the lineup is not secure by any means and while he credited the 35-year-old forward for his effort in camp thus far, Cassidy also said that he hasn’t felt Backes stood out thus far. That was definitely a valid assessment following Backes first game where he went pointless and wasn’t a factor, but on Monday, the embattled forward finally made his presence felt with two helpers. Backes also had two hits and went five-for-six at the faceoff dot. While he doesn’t need to and isn’t expected to rack up points, Backes will need to continue to have games as he did against the Flyers. He was engaged and stepped up when the team needed him most as they were down a center with Krejci out.

 

 

 

 

 

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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