Jakub Lauko, Zach Senyshyn Shine As Bruins Top Capitals
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
It turns out Boston Bruins prospect Jakub Lauko wasn’t joking when he said he didn’t want to leave America.
Skating in his second game in three days — and against the same opponent, no less — the 18-year-old found a way to turn a first-period penalty into a breakaway goal that undoubtedly headlined a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
In an opening frame that saw both the Capitals and Bruins try to score cheapies on one another — that’s actually how the first two goals were scored, as Cam Hughes deflected a puck through Braden Holtby less than two minutes into play while the Caps’ Riley Barber countered with a deflection of his own just moments later — Lauko’s play was a tremendous display.
It actually featured everything that’s led many to believe that the Black and Gold have found a third-round steal, too.
Corralling the tumbling puck while maintaining his all-world speed was a feat of its own, but where Lauko truly turned this play into something was when he found the opening and waited out an elite goaltender that rarely tips his hand in such situations.
With two goals in four periods of hockey to his name, the Capitals certainly began to target Lauko and the rest of the youthful B’s squad. It was Lauko at the center of this, too, as the Caps’ TJ Oshie did his part to get under his skin in a skirmish at the benches. In what was a ‘first line’ role with center Sean Kuraly and veteran winger and PTO attendee Lee Stempniak, No. 94 finished the night with 14:53 of time on ice, but was held without a shot on goal following his first-period tally.
And with Lauko targeted and seemingly neutralized by a more veteran-heavy Washington defensive unit compared to what they brought to Boston on Sunday, another Boston winger mix with a lot to prove this fall decided to make his presence felt.
2015 first-round pick Zach Senyshyn, who was pedestrian at the very best in Boston’s 2-1 shootout win on Sunday, overcame a sluggish opening period that featured more of the same from Game 1, and found the perfect way to get his game going. And his game is an interesting one, to say the least. Considered to be one of the fastest players in his draft class, it’s with that speed that Senyshyn can establish scoring space and generate the chances that made him a lethal scoring threat in the OHL.
Finishing the night with a Bruins-leading seven shots on goal in just 13:20 of time on ice, and undoubtedly feeling his game, Senyshyn added a second goal on a bizarre bounce that beat Ilya Samsonov at the 19:33 mark of the middle frame.
But for all the talk of the Bruins’ young wingers, the Bruins truly won this game on the back of their penalty killing unit.
Sent to the kill an absurd seven times en route to victory, the Bruins spent 13:22 of this 60-minute game on the penalty kill, and successfully killed off all but one of Washington’s power-play attempts. In addition to the success of Daniel Vladar, who finished Tuesday’s showing with stops on 10-of-11 shots faced when on the kill and 31 stops in total, the Bruins relied heavily on the penalty-killing prowess of forwards Daniel Winnik (6:02 of shorthanded time on ice) and Anton Blidh (6:01 of shorthanded time on ice), as well as defenseman Cody Goloubef and his team-leading 6:38 of penalty-killing action.
While the stateside group will make their way back to Boston (and with cuts down to P-Bruins camp sure to follow), the other half of Boston’s preseason roster will conclude their China trip with a 7:30 a.m. Boston time meeting against the Flames.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.