It’s no exaggeration to say Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle has become an integral part of the B’s long term success plan. The big, strong third line center is an important two-way player for the Bruins, and a key part of the secondary offense the B’s require against quality opponents this season, both now and during the playoffs.
So, it was mildly concerning when Coyle stumbled off to a slow start offensively this season, but that initial concern has been alleviated with strong play as of late at both ends of the ice. Coyle punctuated the solid stretch with a pair of goals in Sunday’s 4-1 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden and now has three goals and four points in his last four games along with 11 shots on net during a productive stretch.
“They were a little quiet on Friday, but back it [in the win],” said Bruce Cassidy of his role as a de facto second line center while David Krejci was injured and out of the lineup. “Charlie has an opportunity to drive a little more offense and get more O-zone draws while playing in that role. He’s a guy that we consider a mid-level leader on our team and he took it upon himself to do his part and move his line along. He did a really good job. It’s very important.”
The first one was a beauty.
Charlie Coyle turns 29 YOpic.twitter.com/AT7pm0ebtG
— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) March 2, 2021
For Coyle’s part, he was just trying to make a play early in the game and was assertive with the puck on his stick while turnstiling K’Andre Miller and snapping one inside the far post off the rush. It was the first of his five shots on net in the game, the shot got the B’s on the board early and it was an example of what the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder can do when he looks for his own offense just a touch more often than is the norm.
“I was trying to do what I did. McAvoy started it and hit Pastrnak [with a pass], and then he hit me with speed. I just tried to gain some speed and the lane was open. So, I just tried to use a play under his stick and luckily it went in,” said Coyle. “We wanted to make sure we stuck together and got back to our game.”
Now Coyle is on a pace for a 22-goal season over an 82-game schedule, and that’s a little closer to what the Bruins would like to see after this weekend’s offensive outburst.
The challenge now will be keeping the unselfish Coyle in a puck-possession, assertive mindset using his speed and size to take pucks to the net and generate offense for himself and others by utilizing his greatest assets.
Perhaps with a return to some normalcy centering Trent Frederic and Craig Smith in his normal third line role will aid in that as it appears David Krejci readies for a return to the Boston Bruins lineup based on his practice appearance on Tuesday morning. Coyle, Frederic and Smith can play the big, strong puck possession game and really use it to their advantage, particularly now that the Weymouth kid is feeling it a little.