Five Takeaways: DeBrusk Answers The Bell Again; 'Pasta' Keeps Rolling | Boston Hockey Now
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Five Takeaways: DeBrusk Answers The Bell Again; ‘Pasta’ Keeps Rolling

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Have the Boston Bruins Stellad their groove back? That movie reference may be a bit too old for some of you reading but after three straight losses and sleep-walking through the month of December, the Bruins seem to have that swagger back that helped them roar through the first two months of the season. On Tuesday, they grinded out a 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators in Nashville and on Thursday night, they returned to the comfy confines of TD Garden to win a see-saw affair 5-4 over the Winnipeg Jets for their second straight win. 

“I think the last two games you’re seeing more up and down the lineup…it’s a long year and you hope they’ll come out of it and it looks like, at least in the short term here, we have,” Cassidy said of the Bruins finding their game again. 

After scoring just a goal in each of their two games prior to the win in Nashville and just four during the three-game skid, the Bruins have exploded for 11 goals in two games. On Thursday, only two Bruins lit the lamp as David Pastrnak padded his league-leading goal total to 35 lamplighters with his third hat trick of the season, including the game-tying goal at 11:13 of the third period, and Jake DeBrusk snapped a four-game scoreless streak with two goals, including the game-winner 33 ticks after Pastrnak flooded the ice with hats. 

The Bruins erased three one-goal deficits, had nine players register a point and in their last two games they’ve shown the versatility to win grinding physical games like the one in Nashville and some old fashioned shinny like the win Thursday. Here’s Five Takeaways from another gut-check win for the Bruins (26-8-11, 63 points) who despite the Tampa Bay Lightning (26-13-4, 56 points) winning their ninth straight game Thursday, still lead the Bolts by seven points in the Atlantic Division and trail the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Capitals (30-10-5, 65 points) by two points. 

DeBrusk Keeps Answering Cassidy’s Challenges

Prior to the win Nashville Tuesday, DeBrusk had been benched in two of his previous three games and following the 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy called out DeBrusk saying that he needed to take initiative and “use his feet more”. Well, just as he’s done anytime Cassidy’s called him out and benched him, the 23-year-old winger proved on the ice that he got the message loud and clear. After notching an assist in the 6-2 win Tuesday, DeBrusk not only scored two goals Thursday but just as Cassidy asked him to do, he did so by using his feet and with hustle. DeBrusk’s first goal came off a blocked shot where he then gained possession of the puck and broke in alone on Jets goalie Laurent Brossoit. 

His second goal and the game-winner was just pure hustle and driving the net.

Cassidy joked that he may have to call DeBrusk out and bench him every game now but was thrilled that the struggling winger seems to be finding his game again.

“Jake knows his value to this team. It’s an offensive role, building his 200-foot game,” Cassidy said. That’s no different than anybody else, but he makes us better when he’s winning races to pucks, and that’s what he did on those. He squeezed one in, kept one in or blocked a pass down the wall and won a foot race. Maybe they were in a line change; it was hard for me to see, but all of a sudden, he comes out of the pile. The other one was just him putting a puck into an area and going to get it.

That’s what you need more of out of Jake, more of that second effort on pucks. That’s what we encourage Jake to do every night because he has the ability to do that. Build his game along the wall, build his defensive structure, good stick, but that part of his game.”

What More Can Be Said About Pastrnak?

Usually, a player that got his third hat trick of the season and leads the league in goals and powerplay goals would be the top takeaway but at this point, it’s almost expected Pastrnak will be a takeaway. The Bruins sniper padded that goal total to 35 with his third hat trick of the season and his powerplay goal total is now at 15. Pastrnak is also riding a 12-game point streak with nine goals and ten assists during that span. One unique note on Pastrnak’s latest hat trick was that each goal tied the game. Just another example that not only is he an elite goal scorer but also a clutch one. 

Powerplay Stays Hot; PK Goes Cold

Pastrnak’s second goal of the game at 9:41 of the second period was the Bruins only powerplay goal of the game as they went 1-for-4 on the man advantage, but that was good enough to keep their powerplay goal streak going at 13 games straight. They have 16 lamplighters on the PP during that stretch.

The penalty kill, usually the Bruins bread and butter and a source of great pride is suddenly struggling. To their credit, they had to kill off seven Nashville powerplays Tuesday and were successful on five of them but on Thursday, they appeared to wear down as they allowed the Jets to score on both of their powerplays. It should be noted of course that they were missing one of their best penalty killers in captain Zdeno Chara. See more on that in the next takeaway.

Chara A Late Minute Scratch

For the second time in just over two weeks, the Bruins found themselves without their captain. Despite skating with his team in the morning skate Thursday, Chara, who was set to play his 1,000th game with the Bruins on Saturday against the New York Islanders, was not available to a media contingent hungry to get a head start on that storyline. He did not take the ice for warmups and just prior to faceoff the Bruins announced he would not play. After the game, Cassidy told the media that Chara had another small procedure done on his jaw and that it had become infected. Chara missed a 7-3 win over the Washington Capitals December 23 following a procedure on his jaw – which he had surgically repaired in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final – as well. The Bruins hope he will be ready for the upcoming three-game roadie that takes them to Brooklyn Saturday, Philadelphia Monday and Columbus on Tuesday.

Maybe The Moms Should Stick Around?

For the last four days and two games, the Bruins’ moms have been with them at home, at practice and waiting for them after each game with raucous receptions in the dressing room for their sons. On Thursday, some of the moms faced the media with their sons and DeBrusk’s Mom stole the show, saying “I’m here to make sure you guys go easier on Jake and I’ll take any questions you have.” DeBrusk still answered questions but his and all the players’ Moms seemed to really pick the team up out of their slump and get them back on track. 

With over 18 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 15 of his 18 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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