Bruins

20 Under 25 Candidates: Jake DeBrusk turning into a big-game player

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20 Under 25 Candidates: Jake DeBrusk turning into a big-game player

It’s more than three years after the NHL Draft when the Bruins famously made three consecutive picks in the middle of the first round. Three-plus years later, it’s 22-year-old winger Jake DeBrusk as the only one of the three picks who has established himself at the NHL level and played his way into the long-term future for the Bruins.

That certainly says something about DeBrusk just as it says something about the other two players -- Jakub Zboril and Zach Senyshyn -- taken in that first round.  

DeBrusk finished with a strong, steady 16 goals and 43 points in 70 games for the Bruins while manning the left wing beside David Krejci as a rookie, and stepped up even more in the playoffs as a go-to goal scorer in the Toronto series behind the big three of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. DeBrusk is an interesting mix as a player: none of his skills really jump out at you, but he’s strong, fast and smart with a good, accurate shot, and that package comes along with very clearly being a big game player.

At the beginning of December, DeBrusk actually ranked second on the Bruins in goals behind only Pastrnak and ahead of the injured Bergeron and the snake-bitten Marchand. He continues to show the requisite offensive skill along with the willingness to go to the danger areas that could make him a perennial 20-goal scorer, and both his ideal makeup and strong character as a person make him somebody the Bruins will want as a part of their long-term picture.

Will DeBrusk ever be an All-Star at the NHL level or even reach the 30-goal plateau that separates the good players from the potentially great ones?

It might never be the case, as DeBrusk feels like a player capable of something in the 20-goal/50-point range when he reaches his maximum potential, but that’s plenty good enough for the Black and Gold after selecting him in the middle of the first round three years ago. DeBrusk is in the NHL and playing well just like so many other talented players taken in the first round of that loaded 2015 NHL Draft, and he’ll be in Boston for years to come as a gritty, productive top-6 winger. 

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Bruins-Flames Talking Points: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand spark B's after sluggish start

Bruins-Flames Talking Points: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand spark B's after sluggish start

GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron helped the Bruins get back almost by himself after they fell behind by a 2-0 score to the Calgary Flames. Bergeron scored a pair of goals in the first six minutes of the game to withstand the three-goal barrage from the Flames, and now has goals in five consecutive games and seven in his last seven games during a red-hot offensive period.

Bergeron finished with two goals, the plus-1 rating, three shots on net and three takeaways in 15:59 of ice time. He won 13-of-19 face-offs in a dominant showing in pretty much every facet of the game. In other words, it was just another great effort from No. 37 in another win for the Bruins.

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BLACK EYE: No shots, no hits and no anything from Sean Monahan in 19:31 of ice time for the Flames in a nothing performance from one of Calgary’s best players. It was Monahan that failed to tie up  Bergeron on his second goal of the night after a David Pastrnak shot bounced off the end boards with a carom right to Bergeron in front.

Really, it was a team-wide no-show for the Flames after scoring the first three goals in the opening seven minutes of the first period. After that they managed just a handful of shots in the second period before a better third, but they never got another goal past Jaroslav Halak after Brad Marchand's go-ahead goal.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins clearly weren’t ready to go at the start of the game as they allowed a goal 20 seconds into the game and then fell behind by two goals less than three minutes into the first period. Perhaps Halak could have made a better attempt to stop the shot on Calgary’s second goal, but it was still a scorched one-timer on an odd-man rush. The goals allowed were much more about lax defense by the Bruins even if Halak allowed three goals on six shots faced in the first period.

After that, though, the B’s defense tightened up and went into shutdown mode after allowing one more goal in the first period. Once they got through that rough opening few minutes, the Flames offense was held down and the soft Calgary defense was exposed by the Bruins en route to the one-goal win for the Black and Gold.

HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand ended up with the game-winner when he scored the lone goal in the second period after redirecting a Brandon Carlo point shot. Marchand did a nice job of stepping into traffic to redirect the outside shot, but it was also a byproduct of Calgary failing to lift his stick once he got ideal position in front of the net.

Marchand finished with a goal, two points and a plus-1 rating in 18:36 of ice time, had five shots on net and had a hit and a takeaway in a very active game for the entire Perfection Line. Give Marchand and Bergeron credit for refusing to allow the Bruins to lose even after they dropped behind by a couple of goals just minutes into a wild, crazy game out in Calgary.

BY THE NUMBERS: 7 – the number of teams to win a game in NHL history after allowing three goals in the first four minutes of the game. The B’s became that seventh team when they pulled out the 4-3 win in Calgary.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I’m a physical player, so those games are comfortable. I’m just trying to help the team win. It was really physical. It was a good game to be a part of for sure.” –Jeremy Lauzon on the night where he got in his first NHL fight with Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk.

Watch Jeremy Lauzon drop gloves with Matthew Tkachuk for first NHL fight

Watch Jeremy Lauzon drop gloves with Matthew Tkachuk for first NHL fight

Jeremy Lauzon officially has his first NHL fight under his belt.

The 22-year-old tussled with Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk during the second period of Friday night's game to mark the first bout of his NHL career. Tkachuk certainly gave Lauzon a challenge, but the Boston Bruins defenseman held his own.

Watch below:


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Not a bad first scrap for the B's youngster.

While Tkachuk may have won the fight, Lauzon and the Bruins were the winners in the end as they defeated the Flames 4-3 in a thriller. Boston now has won 11 of its last 12 games.