BRIGHTON, Mass – It wasn’t a hat trick or a dominant performance at the offensive end of the ice, but Matt Beleskey showed he’s still got some fight to his game when given a chance.
Beleskey finished with a strong three shots on net and a couple of hits in the Bruins' 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild Monday night at TD Garden, but it was the rugged way he posted those stats that mattered the most to the Black and Gold.
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Beleskey brought energy from his very first shift and gave a nice boost to the Bruins after they jumped on the Wild with the early lead. Beleskey and Matthew Dumba looked like they were going to drop the gloves and square off after the veteran Bruins winger started a little static with the big-bodied D-man, but instead rookie Luke Kunin stepped in to fight Beleskey at the last minute. Beleskey dropped Kunin with a couple of big right hands, and then waved his hands up in the air to get the home crowd going as he skated to the penalty box with a big grin on his face.
The sequence allowed the Bruins to keep powering through with the momentum they’d built after a strong start and it gave the Beleskey the hard-nosed, blue-collar impact he’s been looking to make as a bottom-six winger this season.
“I’m definitely feeling better out there. Skating better. It’s confidence and it’s building, so that’s what I’m trying to do,” said Beleskey. “Just keep working, stick to the process and hopefully, you know, hopefully, start getting a couple bounces, but I think when I’m playing defensively sound it’s easier for Butch [Bruce Cassidy] to keep me on the ice.
“You’ve got to have some fun. It’s fun here in the Garden. They get loud, so you know, you
get into the game, and if I can get people out of their seats that’s a good thing.”
Beleskey, 29, doesn’t have any points yet and any kind of offensive breakthrough hasn’t arrived for him nine games into the season. Still, Beleskey is at least flexing some muscle and playing with a little tough-guy swagger with David Backes out of the lineup. Those qualities can’t ever be ignored into a Bruins uniform as long as he can continue to keep up with the ever-increasing speed of the game.
“Matt did a good job all around the ice. He was really solid defensively, you know he’s getting pucks behind [the Minnesota] defenseman and he’s another guy that had missed some games so he wants to prove that he belongs in there every night,” said Bruce Cassidy. “That’s a great attitude for those guys instead of worrying about other stuff, they just went out when their number was called and played and played hard.
“So. good job for Matt [Beleskey] and that’s something that he can do for us. He has that ability, when the abrasive play starts, he can answer the bell.”
Beleskey answered the bell against Minnesota for an undermanned Bruins and the hope is that he can keep right on doing it for the Black and Gold after a very disappointing season last year.