BOSTON – Rookie defenseman Jeremy Lauzon has quietly and solidly filled in when the Bruins have needed him this season, so it was fitting that he was rewarded rather quickly in his NHL career with his first career goal.
It was a bit of a fluke play, but it turned out to be the game-winning goal for Lauzon and the Bruins in a 4-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights less than 24 hours after he was an emergency call-up to fill in for the injured Brandon Carlo. Sean Kuraly had fired a deep, long distance entry into the Vegas zone, and the puck took a wild carom off the end boards that caused Malcolm Subban to fall down as he was trying to play the puck out of his crease.
That left the hustling Lauzon with a wide open chance and the puck coming right at him, and the young B’s defenseman fired a shot into the vacant net for Boston’s second goal of the game. It may not have been a scorched blast from the point or an end-to-end rush, but it may just turn into that by the time the 21-year-old Lauzon tells his grandkids about it someday.
MORE BRUINS COVERAGE
- Can Pastrnak be a 50-goal scorer this season?
- Talking Points: Bruins starting to get offense from different corners
“He works hard. He’s got good instincts to get up the ice. I think he’s played well here. There are some areas below the goal line in our end where he has to learn what’s available, how to move the puck, how to protect it…but that’s just experience I think,” said Bruce Cassidy. “No matter what level he’s at, that’s a work in progress. But the rest of his game, that’s just physicality, his willingness to get up the ice, close gaps, kill penalties, he’s been pretty good for us.
“I’m happy for him. He’s a likeable kid, so good for him. You only get your first NHL goal once, and some guys don’t get it [at all]. So, it’s nice for him to get it at home, and I think it turns out to be the game-winner.”
Lauzon is simply trying to carve out a niche for himself while the B’s are beset with so many injuries on the back end, and he’s been solid with the goal and a plus-1 rating while averaging 12:24 of ice time in his five games with Boston. There’s a strong likelihood that Lauzon won’t be here long with Charlie McAvoy, Urho Vaakanainen and Kevan Miller all working toward returns to the lineup, but he’s going to do the best job he can while he’s filling in for the banged up Carlo.
“I think a lot for sure,” said Lauzon, when asked what it means to contribute to the team while he’s here. “My goal is to stay here as long as I can, and I thought I played hard defensively and [had] something to contribute and do my part.
“I think it’s a good feeling for sure. It’s something that you’re looking for all your life playing in the NHL, and when you’re younger I think you’re… you imagine scoring your first goal and being able to accomplish that is something big. I’m pretty happy about it.”
Now after living out one of his childhood dreams, Lauzon and the Bruins will get focused on the task at hand with a big West Coast road trip coming up and little time for a rookie to dwell on past accomplishments.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.