The showcase for Bruins winger Oskar Steen will ride on when the Bruins get to work back at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
And with a promotion up the Boston lineup.
With Karson Kuhlman still in the NHL’s COVID protocols, and with Jake DeBrusk joining him Tuesday, the Bruins have made the decision to move the 23-year-old Steen up to the right side of a third-line combo with Nick Foligno and Charlie Coyle.
Steen impressed in his 2021-22 debut from that spot, with an assist in an Oct. 24 win over San Jose (though that outing came with DeBrusk and Erik Haula as his linemates), and the Bruins aren’t asking the 5-foot-9 wing to change his game all that much if at all given the success that’s come with three helpers in four games this year.
“More of the same,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said when asked what he wants to see from Steen with this promotion. “He’s been good. I’ve said it before, when you can push from underneath, it always creates competition [and] makes your team better. And Oskar’s been able to do that every time he’s been here and he’s come back and got a little more confident each time. Every game seems to have a look around the front of the net, those dirty areas.”
This latest bump is just the start, Steen hopes, with the 2016 sixth rounder not putting a ceiling on himself just yet.
“I think I can play top six,” Steen admitted. “I have nearly my whole life been [an] offensive player, so I just have to score more and score more points and then probably I can move up in the lineup.”
“I don’t think it matters for him a lot,” Cassidy said of Steen’s move up the lineup. “He’s at that age [where] he’s just excited to play and contribute to who he plays with, so it’s a positive. We want to draft and develop, put some younger people in the lineup and push other guys, and hopefully that’s the case and it’s a consistent thing for Oskar.”
“For me, the first step here is just to make the lineup, so that’s what I’m aiming for right now,” said Steen.
In net, Linus Ullmark will get the start for the B’s. Ullmark enters action with 8-5-0 record and .919 save percentage on the year, and has a 5-4-0 record and .923 save percentage in 10 career games against the Devils.
New Jersey is expected to counter with Mackenzie Blackwood.
The Devils will also come into TD Garden significantly shorthanded, with Dougie Hamilton (jaw) and Nico Hischier (lower body) unavailable, and with Yegor Sharangovich and Pavel Zacha on the COVID list.
Boston enters tonight’s game with an 8-5-1 record on home ice this season.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. 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.