BOSTON – On a night when the Bruins needed more from players that hadn’t been providing it lately, a couple of them came through early in a big way.
Both Jake DeBrusk (eight games) and Frank Vatrano (25 games, that dated back to last season) ended long goal-scoring droughts in the 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden.
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With DeBrusk it was a nice play where he attacked with speed, separated Jarred Spurgeon from a puck close to the Minnesota net and then banked a puck off Ryan Suter in front on its way past Devan Dubnyk in the wild net. It was part of four shots on net and a couple of hits for DeBrusk in 16:29 and a nice little carrot for the youngster after putting in a lot of hard work in between scoring his second and third goals of the season.
It certainly looked at times like the left wing was left wide open by the Wild for Boston’s wingers to motor up and down making plays and that’s exactly what they did.
“It’s nice to see Jake [DeBrusk] get rewarded, even though it was a bit of a lucky goal. We talk about his foot speed, getting his legs underneath him, he’s attacking, winning pucks and if you get towards the net you’re going to get some of those breaks so good for him,” said Bruce Cassidy of his rookie winger. “I think we’ve wanted to play that way. I think in training camp you start to see some of it when Jake [DeBrusk] was there, he can motor. Frank [Vatrano] can go in straight lines. I think it just worked out that we’re able to hunt down pucks.
“I talked about our breakouts earlier. We want to be low support in our zone, not getting out of there too soon. I think earlier in the year we talked about some of those high flips, skating on to them, so we’ve balanced that better now. Being in our zone when it’s appropriate to support it low and then get it going when our defensemen have a chance to get it out. So that worked out well for us tonight and that’s all it was. Nothing to do with I think how Minnesota played, it was more about the personnel we have and the situations that have presented themselves.”
Similarly, Vatrano played with straight-line speed all night and snapped in a bit of a knuckling puck that was on edge from long distance and dinged off the post and then off Devan Dubnyk for his first goal of the season in his 10th game. The goal was coming off being a healthy scratch for each of the previous two games and the hope is that it can set off the 23-year-old that has the talent and shot/release to go on a bit of an offensive binge with a little more confidence.
“[Vatrano] had a lot of pep in his step. I mean, obviously, he’s got a lot of pride. He didn’t like being scratched from the lineup. I think the goal really helps him. He’s a goal scorer and it’s been a while so when you get a break like that and you shoot enough times, it got him excited to play the rest of the game,” said Cassidy. “He’s been working on that part of his game in fairness to him, being a complete player, and it’s a work in progress for a lot of guys, a lot of young guys. So we liked it. We need secondary scoring and he was able to provide some of that.”
The trick for both now is to get each of those revitalized players into a stretch where they can heat up offensively and help offset the Bruins missing three of their top six wingers with David Krejci, Brad Marchand and David Backes all out.