Boston Bruins

 

  • Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was not here for Jake DeBrusk’s trade request.

    But it was one of the first things Montgomery wanted to know more about upon taking the job in Boston.

    “When you come into a new situation, you really wonder what you’re getting,” Montgomery admitted. “And in the league, even when you’re on another team, you follow what’s going on and you wonder why. We’ve had some conversations about why [he wanted to be traded] and why he [now] wants to be a Bruin still and for a long, long time.”

    To be clear, it’s still unknown why DeBrusk wanted out. It’s been speculated that it was his contract situation entering the year, his long-term role with the club, and his rockier relationship with ex-coach Bruce Cassidy. DeBrusk has repeatedly offered no insight or confirmation when it comes to that speculation, as he’s decided to focus on what’s ahead.

    And for the Bruins, that’s turned out to be one hell of a resurgence.

    On the board with two goals and a helper in a surprise return to action Monday night, DeBrusk’s becoming closer and closer to cementing himself as a legitimate top-line threat. I mean, the numbers are basically undeniable.

    Since the Bruins moved DeBrusk to the right of Patrice Bergeron on the Black and Gold’s top line back on Feb. 24 earlier this year, the 26-year-old has produced 18 goals and 28 points in 34 games played. Those 18 goals are not only tops among all Boston skaters over that span, but they also rank as the 20th-most in all of the NHL. Ahead of players such as Vladimir Tarasenko, Nikita Kucherov, Filip Forsberg, and even teammate David Pastrnak.

    This is without a doubt the best that DeBrusk has looked in a Bruins uniform. From end to end, power play to penalty kill. You have to really, really hunt for concerns when it comes to No. 74 right now.

    “I was shocked at how smart a player he is and his ability to make plays. Like I knew he could score goals, I knew he could skate, but I didn’t know he could make as many plays as he does,” Montgomery said. “And I think his all-around game is continuing to develop. Like he was hard on pucks, and hard on coming back to our end.

    “His hockey sense and how he sees the ice is well above the average hockey player in the NHL and something well above that I didn’t know he possessed. I thought he was a speed and scoring winger. He’s much more than that.”

    “I think the biggest thing for myself is confidence,” DeBrusk said. “I think last year freed me, just in general, with going through the ups and downs and it’s one of those things where it’s time to put it all together.

    “It’s one thing to do it for one game, but we’ve got 79 left. So, the challenge is [Tuesday] night against a good Ottawa team and just keep on rolling from there.”

    Here some other thoughts and notes from a 5-3 final over the Panthers

  • Derek Forbort has yet another monster game

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 17: Derek Forbort #28 of the Boston Bruins and Carter Verhaeghe #23 of the Florida Panthers battle for control of the puck during the second period at TD Garden on October 17, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 17: Derek Forbort #28 of the Bruins and Carter Verhaeghe #23 of the Panthers battle for control of the puck during the second period at TD Garden on October 17, 2022. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    If you wanna talk about an unsung hero from Monday’s victory, you wanna talk about Derek Forbort.

    Deployed for 20:34 by the night’s end, Forbort led all Boston skaters with 4:24 of shorthanded time on ice for a B’s penalty kill that went a perfect 4-for-4 (including a 5-on-3 kill in the first period), and finished the win with a plus-5 rating. That actually made Forbort just the third Bruins defenseman since 2003 to finish a game with a plus-5 or better, joining a club that features Zdeno Chara (he did it twice) and Brandon Carlo (accomplished in his NHL debut).

    What makes Forbort’s plus-5 even more impressive was the fact that it came with about half of five-on-five action coming against the Panthers’ top line headlined by captain Aleksander Barkov. Forbort did not shy away from the battle with Barkov throughout the night, and had countless net-front battles to deny Barkov any time and space to create.

    Just another gigantic performance with Brandon Carlo out of action.

  • Montgomery loves team’s pack mentality in tense moments

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 17: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Florida Panthers anbd Dan Renouf #44 of the Boston Bruins are separated during a fight in the second period at TD Garden on October 17, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 17: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Panthers anbd Dan Renouf #44 of the Bruins are separated during a fight in the second period at TD Garden on October 17, 2022. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    One thing that B’s coach Jim Montgomery really loved from Monday’s contest: Everybody on the ice wanting to get a piece of the Panthers’ Matt Tkachuk during a center-ice dust-up.

    “I mean, I just love the way we’re battling for each other,” Montgomery offered. “I thought the big turning point in the game for me was that scrum at center ice. I mean, you have Danny Renouf, you have A.J. Greer, you have everybody in there. Right. And, you know, I didn’t see the hit, but obviously they were trying to get after Nosek and we were a pack of wolves in there together. And after that, I thought we had our best three minutes of the game and we’re down to three lines. So I think it speaks volumes about how hard they played for each other.”

    Man, that’s refreshing.

    I think many people understand and (begrudgingly) accept that the days of the ‘Big, Bad Bruins’ are long behind the organization and the league as a whole. The game’s just not played that way anymore. But there’s still a place in the game for sticking up for yourself and your teammates, and you can’t always turn the other cheek and take the power play. Sometimes you gotta stand your ground and punch (or at the very least try to punch) a dude in the mouth.

    Tkachuk is that kind of guy for the Panthers, and he certainly had it coming with multiple attempts to get under the skin of Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. Tkachuk going after Tomas Nosek after Nosek’s accidental knee on Florida’s Rudolfs Balcers was just the perfect reason to look for some violence against the Florida superstar.

    Just wait ’til we get a meaningful game with Brad Marchand out there opposite Tkachuk.

  • Upstart Lauko takes a seat for Bruins

    BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16: Jakub Lauko #94 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on September 16, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 16: Jakub Lauko #94 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on September 16, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    The surprise return of Jake DeBrusk was bad news for Jakub Lauko on Monday night, as the Bruins scratched the first-year NHLer from the lineup. It’s a definite bummer for Lauko, all things considered, as the Czech winger was definitely bringing a speed and tenacity element to the Black and Gold’s fourth line with Tomas Nosek and Nick Foligno, and was rewarded with two penalties drawn in his season debut and a should-have-been goal in his second outing.

    But Montgomery made it a point to keep Lauko’s shoulders upright.

    “Just be honest with him, you know,” Montgomery said of his message to Lauko after the scratched. “‘You’ve done a great job. You’ll get another opportunity. And this is what we think is best for the team tonight.'”

    With Lauko out, Craig Smith manned the right side of Boston’s fourth line, and finished Monday’s game with a minus-1 rating and just 7:03 of time on ice. That 7:03 figure was the lowest single-game ice-time total of Smith’s NHL career, beating his previous low (9:08 in a 2-1 Preds win over the Sabres back on Jan. 18, 2020) by two minutes. Have to wonder if a step out of the lineup is the next step for the veteran Smith.