BOSTON – Jake DeBrusk had more goals (six) and points (eight) in the Bruins' two-round playoff run last spring than he’s had his this postseason (three goals and seven points) as the B's enter the Stanley Cup Final.
DeBrusk was a force last year in the first round when he scored five goals against the Maple Leafs, but it’s been a tougher slog for the skilled left winger while chipping in here or there for the Black and Gold. So, it’s no surprise that DeBrusk says he feels like he might be a little due in the Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues. One of his patented hot streaks would be a welcome development for the Black and Gold.
The lack of a hot points stretch this postseason has been tough for DeBrusk to swallow.
“Everyone is hard on themselves and has expectations, but [the points] are not the main point for me," DeBrusk said. "The win is the biggest thing. If you don’t do what you want to do but the team wins then that’s all that matters this time of year. So that does help. But when you lose and you lose a tight game, it doesn’t necessarily creep in there…but you put more pressure on yourself or to be that guy, or be the difference. It just hasn’t happened for me personally.
“Usually for teams that I’ve been on the past I’ve had to be that guy, so it’s a little bit of a different feeling with things not going into the net as much. Goals help with my confidence, but my overall game play itself I haven’t liked at all. So, it’s just a matter of going out and doing it. It won’t be easy, but it’s a matter of doing it for the team.”
It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that it could happen based on DeBrusk’s mix of speed, power and skill going up against a St. Louis defensemen corps that’s long on size and strength while at times short on skating speed. That will be part of DeBrusk’s plan to get some separation on the Blues D-men and get pucks to the net in the kind of old-fashioned net-drive game he features when he’s at his best.
“I feel like I have a lot more to give with these playoffs. Personally, it hasn’t been what I wanted from a production standpoint, but we’re in the Stanley Cup Final. So, there are obviously bigger things at hand,” said DeBrusk, who is at least getting his shots on net with 50 shots in these playoffs. “But I’d like to find different ways to help this team and there’s no time better than now. The way that I’m going to have to play to have success is my bread and butter in a sense. It’s not going to be easy.
“It’s going to be tough. But getting into those hard areas is going to be my focus, especially against those big defensemen. That’s what I excel at. You’re going to take some bumps and bruises along the way, but I think that’s also where I can use my speed. I think that’s a big aspect I need to bring into the series.”
It could go one of two ways for DeBrusk in the Final against the Blues.
DeBrusk could continue to futilely chase after consistency and be frustrated as he’s been at times through the first three rounds. Or this could be the series where DeBrusk’s work on the second line and his net-front presence on the power play turn into consistent offense and help get him and his team exactly where they want to go.
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