Citing the lack of scoring as a ‘major concern’ to his team, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney’s first try at an internal shake-up up front will be Zach Senyshyn’s gain, with the 2015 first-round pick called up to make his season debut for tonight’s head-to-head with the Rangers.
Off a hot start for the P-Bruins and drawing rave reviews from coach Jay Leach, Senyshyn has come out of the gate with a team-leading five goals and nine points, along with 29 shots on goal. It’s enough of a sample for Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy to know that Senyshyn is coming back to Boston a more complete product.
“He’s certainly played a good two-way game down [in the AHL], killed some penalties, he’s been on the power play, he’s scored. He’s played in all situations, which is good for his confidence,” said Cassidy. “Probably at the stage of his career where he should be doing that and it’s one of the reasons he’s here. He’s played well there.”
Senyshyn’s first 2021 NHL look will come on an undoubtedly different-looking fourth line, too, as he’ll play the right side of a line with Jack Studnicka at center andSean Kuraly shifted to left wing.
“There’s an opportunity here where we are looking for better play out of our forward group so he’s gonna get his opportunity and see where it goes,” Cassidy said. “It shows a maturity level when you’re able to do that. And it’s good on the [Providence] staff to get him to buy in that he will get an opportunity if he plays well.
“And both of those things have happened.”
The 23-year-old Senyshyn, who has totaled one goal and three points in his six-game NHL run to date, will not be the only addition to the Boston lineup, as Jake DeBrusk will return to play after sitting out Tuesday’s meeting with the Islanders as a healthy scratch.
“The message was delivered to [DeBrusk],” Cassidy said. “We all spoke to him. I don’t think there’s any gray area in that right now. We need him to play better, and how is he gonna play better? I’ve always said with Jake the message for me to him is, ‘It’s a second-effort league, Jake, and you need more second effort.'”
DeBrusk’s return will see him reunited with David Krejci on Boston’s second line.
This will be the first time that the Bruins have had their three first-round picks from the 2015 NHL Draft — DeBrusk, Senyshyn, and defenseman Jakub Zboril — in the same lineup for an NHL contest.
Only took five years, eight months, and 14 days for those stars to align for the Bruins.
With Tuukka Rask still on the mend, Jaroslav Halak will make his second straight for the B’s. Halak took a shootout loss Tuesday despite a 26-of-27 performance, but stopped all 21 shots faced in a Feb. 12 shutout over these Rangers, and comes into action with a 5-2-2 record and .919 save percentage this season.
The Bruins are 3-1-0 against the Rangers in 2021.
Here’s the complete lineup and pairings for the B’s…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Nick Ritchie
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Sean Kuraly – Jack Studnicka – Zach Senyshyn
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Jakub Zboril – Connor Clifton
Jarred Tinordi – Urho Vaakanainen