Boston Bruins

Mar 31, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) celebrates with defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) after scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils during the first period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The good news for the Bruins: Jake DeBrusk’s heater is back on, and in a big way.

And to be honest, scoring his third goal in as many games wasn’t easy the thing you should be most excited about. In a decided game where it could’ve been entirely too easy to simply take your foot off the gas and shift your focus on getting through the night injury-free, DeBrusk straight-up bullied the Devils’ Ty Smith on a 50-50 puck on the forecheck, and completely created the goal scored by the Bruins’ Brad Marchand to make it 6-1.

Just a straight mugging. But exactly what this team needs from Top Line DeBrusk this spring.

“That’s playoff hockey right there,” Marchand said of that sequence. “That is the type of hockey we’re going to need going forward. You look at the teams around the league that are in playoff position, especially in the East [and] the teams we’re gonna see. They’re big, heavy, the D are tough and they compete hard. We’re gonna have that every single night moving forward.

“It’s something we have to establish every night.”

Now, ‘every night’ has always been a bit of the problem with No. 74. It’s what has landed him in the doghouse before, and it seems likely to pop up again between now and the end of the season. That just tends to be how it is for the 25-year-old. But the Bruins do believe that DeBrusk is back to having fun, and that his mind is finally clear after going through three months of pure uncertainty with his trade request unsuccessfully fulfilled by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.

“Jake has found his game,” Marchand offered. “There seems to be a weight lifted off his shoulders.”

“Right now it’s going in for him [and that] seems to get him more excited, so let’s ride with it,” said Cassidy.

The confidence in riding with it beyond the obvious production is that the Bruins believe that DeBrusk’s clearer head allows him to get back to center than maybe in years (or even months) past when the lulls would simply never end.

“That’s one of the differences [now]: He finds his game quicker than maybe he had in the past,” Cassidy offered. “Maybe some of that has to do with who he’s playing with as well. They tend to create a lot of opportunities no matter what.”

Great news when the heater’s on.

Here’s some other thoughts and notes from a blowout dub over the Devils

  • Mar 31, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Marc McLaughlin (26) scores a goal past New Jersey Devils goaltender Jon Gillies (32) during the second period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    Marc McLaughlin pops in his B’s debut

    One hell of a debut for Billerica’s Marc McLaughlin.

    In action for his first NHL game just over two weeks after signing a contract with his hometown team, Marc McLaughlin made his debut count with an absolute hammering of a puck through Jon Gillies late in the second period of Thursday’s win. One NHL game, one NHL goal. That made McLaughlin the 45th player in Bruins history to score in their NHL debut (Zach Senyshyn was the last player to do that, and Ryan Donato before him), and is just a taste of what McLaughlin can do.

    “He’s been working hard, doing everything very professional in practice, shooting the puck hard,” Cassidy said of McLaughlin. “You saw it on his goal. I don’t think that was an accident. He can shoot the puck, making hard plays, and he was called on to play the wing [on Thursday]. It’s one game. I’m glad it went well for him.

    “Let’s get him in a few more before we see where he’ll fit on this team, but good for him.”

    One thing you notice about McLaughlin? There’s not a lot of glaring weaknesses that make you think he’s woefully unprepared for this level. Now, I’m sure they’ll find some stuff in the video sessions (that’s why they coach and we just BS online), but the positioning appeared sound, the skating game was there, and that shot looks potent.

  • Mar 31, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Josh Brown (44) and New Jersey Devils defenseman Mason Geertsen (55) fight during the first period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    Josh Brown makes Bruins debut, exits with injury

    Trade deadline addition Josh Brown wasted no time getting right down to business in his Bruins debut by way of a first-period fight with the Devils’ Mason Geertsen less than 40 seconds into his Boston. And it was certainly a heavyweight bout between the 6-foot-5, 217-pound Brown and New Jersey’s 6-foot-4, 227-pound Geertsen.

    But Brown failed to make it through his debut unscathed, as a hit from Devils forward Nathan Bastian left Brown reeling and ultimately knocked him out of action for the remainder of the night with an upper-body injury.

    With Brown on the shelf, the Bruins will have their options on defense, with one of (or perhaps both) of Connor Clifton and Derek Forbort available to rejoin the lineup Saturday night. The Bruins have talked about a Forbort-Reilly pairing rounding out the team’s defense, and this may be their best excuse to give it a whirl.

  • Mar 31, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler (71) defends Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) during the first period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    The Junk Drawer

    • The more I watch him, the more I think Anton Blidh may be the kind of playoff weapon that the Bruins really shouldn’t sit. He’s just pure pace and nastiness. Those kinds of players absolutely wear defensemen down by the third and fourth game of a series. Blidh stuffed the box score in this one, too, with a takeaway, two shots, and four hits in 12:24 of time on ice. In case you’re wondering, Blidh is now averaging 15.94 hits per 60 minutes of even-strength play this season. That’s tops among all Boston skaters (minimum 250 minutes), and ranks 15th among a group of 675 NHLers in 2021-22.
    • Even Bruce Cassidy felt that this one went on a little too long. “That felt like the longest game ever, I’m sorry. What time is it? Midnight?” Cassidy quipped after the win. He’s not that far off. Thursday’s game with the Devils clocked in at 2:49. That’s just one minute behind the team’s road overtime loss to the Avalanche for their longest game of the season.
    • Nice touch by the Bruins to play Tuukka Rask off to ‘Wherever I May Roam’ by Metallica. Fitting given his current life path and his Metallica fandom. He actually used to have ‘Tuukka’ in the Metallica font on the back of his mask.
    • Random Devil: Mark Fayne. The New Hampshire native put up a career-high 17 points in 2012 and was a full-timer on the Devils’ improbable run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. Actually ended his NHL career on a pro tryout with the B’s in 2018.
    • Who was the worst actor or actress on The Sopranos? Not the worst character (that’s absolutely Richie Aprile), but the worst actor or actress? (No, you can’t pick the CGI version of Liv Soprano.)
    • Gotta say, and maybe I just roll in the Twitter mud too much and this was never actually the case, but seems like a whole lot of people were reeeeeeal quick to hit Devils center Jack Hughes with a bust label. Dude’s become legit as can be this season. Fun player to watch.