Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 02: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on December 02, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

If Jake DeBrusk is looking to accelerate his exit from the Bruins, nights like Thursday can only help.

Playing in his second game since his trade request went public, DeBrusk opened up the scoring for Boston with a vintage-looking marker with the Bruins up a man in the first period. This actually held as the game-winning goal in a shutout victory for Jeremy Swayman, and was just part of what was an effective night for the 25-year-old wing.

On the ice for 10:48 of action by the night’s end, No. 74 did what he could in his fourth-line role with Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar, and even came through with a solid chance created out of a one-on-one battle with the Preds’ Dante Fabbro.

It was pretty much all DeBrusk had to show for the evening, but when you factor in the defensive role of that line (they began just 25 percent of their shifts in the offensive zone) and its limited ice time, the night felt like a win for both sides.

“[DeBrusk] had a good game,” acting head coach Joe Sacco said after the victory. “Hopefully he can build off of that too. Like we said before, we just want Jake to help our team anyway possible and he came up with a big goal tonight. I thought he was skating well tonight. I thought he was moving well. I thought that he competed tonight.”

And given that he likely wouldn’t be playing at all if not for the injury to Anton Blidh and Brad Marchand’s suspension, the Bruins will take anything they can to help boost DeBrusk’s stock between now and his eventual trade out of town.

Will one goal change everything for the return on DeBrusk? No, probably not. Teams, including the one that drafted DeBrusk with the No. 14 overall pick in 2015, have seen these flashes of high-end talent before only to wonder where it went after a half dozen donuts in the stat line and an eventual trip back to the press box. But it should change something, at least based on the mild (the Bruins used the term ‘OK’), half-speed looking effort that DeBrusk put forth in Tuesday’s loss to the Red Wings.

But the real challenge, as was the case when DeBrusk was still part of the Bruins’ future plans, comes with building off that performance with another encouraging outing.

After all, it’s indeed DeBrusk’s quickest way out of here.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 06: Erik Haula skates against the Washington Capitals during a practice shootout following the preseason game between the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Erik Haula’s strong response continues

    Bruins forward Erik Haula didn’t disagree with the B’s decision to scratch him last Sunday against Vancouver. In fact, Haula admitted that he hadn’t felt like himself and that he “didn’t recognize the player out there.”

    That’s turned out to be more than at the podium media lip service, too, as Haula impacted Thursday’s victory in a major way. Skating to the left of Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith on Boston’s second line, the 30-year-old Haula came through with the primary helper on Brandon Carlo’s second period goal, hit a post and a crossbar, and drew a penalty on the Predators’ Mark Borowiecki in the third period to help kill some clock with the B’s up two.

    Haula also logged what was his first 17-minute night since Nov. 4, and was one of six Bruins to finish with an even-or-better on-ice shot differential in a game that saw the Bruins outshot by a 42-33 mark.

    Not bad for his first game on the wing. Not that’s exactly a surprise given Haula’s resume.

    “When I first signed here, I talked about [how] I pride myself on versatility [and] being able to play anywhere I’m put,” Haula noted. “This kind of sums it up. If it’s wing, center, whatever it is, just focus on my game is the main thing. Puck battles, moving my feet, being dangerous off the rush and creating.”

  • NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – DECEMBER 02: Jakub Zboril #67 of the Boston Bruins is assisted off the ice during the second period of a game against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on December 02, 2021. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

    Jakub Zboril suffers lower-body injury in victory

    Well, the Bruins have taken a next step towards that ‘no help’ territory.

    Playing with just 12 forwards available and one healthy scratch (Connor Clifton) at their disposal beyond their six defensemen — and still unable to call the P-Bruins for additional help — the Bruins lost Jakub Zboril to a scary-looking lower-body injury in the second period of Thursday’s win.

    The Bruins were quick to rule the 24-year-old out for the remainder of the evening, and the optics of his injury and the way he needed to be helped off the ice would seemingly indicate that he will not be available when the Bruins square off with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

    That would, of course, throw Clifton back into action for the Bruins and leave the Bruins with an empty room of healthy scratches available.

    The good news is that Brad Marchand will be available after Saturday’s contest, but that defense is looking real, real thin until the P-Bruins can get out of their current COVID predicament.

  • NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – DECEMBER 02: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins cross checks Matt Duchene #95 of the Nashville Predators during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on December 02, 2021. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

    Don’t poke the (captain) bear

    A trend with Marchand out of action: Teams picking on Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.

    Now, Bergeron can certainly handle himself when the situation calls for it. (Just ask Josh Gorges.) But this is not something that the Bruins should tolerate. Bergeron’s rough night started with a high hit from Nashville’s Filip Forsberg that left him bloodied and furious, and continued with a third-period run-in with Nick Cousins. The fact that Cousins wasn’t forced to answer for that right then and there by someone on the ice is a bit bothersome.

    The first one should’ve been enough for the Bruins to respond in a way they saw fit, but the second? At that point, Cousins shouldn’t have been given the option. Yeah, yeah, this is caveman thinking to some. But that’s your captain. That’s the most important member of your team, and given your aforementioned health situation, you can’t and shouldn’t let anybody try to take liberties with No. 37.

    If this continues on Saturday, that’s a big ol’ problem.

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