Boston Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Jack Studnicka #23 of the Boston Bruins looks to shoot the puck against the Washington Capitals during the first period of the game at Capital One Arena on May 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Bruins center Jack Studnicka turned offseason hype surrounding his improved physique into tangible results Tuesday night, as he found the back of the net to put the Bruins on the board and then won the faceoff to pick up the lone assist on the team’s second and final goal of the evening in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.

It was exactly what the Bruins needed to see in a night of relatively tough sledding throughout the roster.

“He managed the puck well,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I don’t think anybody early on was hard enough on it.”

That luck changed for the Bruins when they found some transition opportunities, however, and that’s where Studnicka shined.

“Good spot for Jack; finishes, had a couple of other chances around the net,” Cassidy noted. “I think there was a wraparound he got from Reilly; again, similar situation getting through the neutral zone. Good for Jack in that regard. I think their line has the ability to create offense and eventually they did and did a good job.”

Barring a relentless stream of these performances between now and Oct. 16, it seems unlikely that Studnicka, who still has minor-league options, will make the Bruins. But this growth is something the 22-year-old needed to show beyond the weight room and practice rink if he’s going to make life tricky for the Bruins, and he could feel the difference in his 2021 debut.

“I think I was able to throw my body around more when I was going through guys’ hands on the backcheck and stuff,” Studnicka, listed at 171 pounds last year, admitted. “Felt I was getting [into] position good, but it’s going to be a work in progress. It’s a little different game that I’m able to play now. So [I’m] just trying to bring more of an edge.”

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.