BOSTON – The Bruins continue to win games and gather points, and that is the ultimate goal for any hockey club.
But they’re also still trying to figure out the best combinations down the stretch and into the playoffs, and Saturday night’s 1-0 win over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden was no different in that respect. Rookie winger Peter Cehlarik got a look on the third line as the left wing with Charlie Coyle and David Backes, and in the first period the trio actually didn’t look bad as a big, strong, puck possession group capable of pressuring defenses and creating offense.
Unfortunately for Cehlarik, that didn’t last for the full game and he ended up hitting the bench for long stretches of the second and third periods of Boston’s one-goal win over the Devils. Cehlarik finished with a team-low 8:54 of ice time and his coach made it clear afterward that it was about the way the 6-foot-2 power forward was playing.
“He’s here in the NHL. He’s earned his right to be in the lineup. I think we’ve used him up in the lineup with [David] Krejci. We’ve used him with Charlie Coyle, two very good players,” said Bruce Cassidy, who said the benching was because of "his routes, responsibility away from the puck and managed it at the end of the second period in your own end."
“So I think at some point the responsibility falls on the player to be ready to play, and play the Bruins way. I thought he got away from that a little bit, so that’s it.
“Only he can answer whether he’s frustrated or [tired from] the travel. It’s certainly not the hour travel [from Providence]. Maybe the fact that he got sent down might have bothered him. I don’t know, I can’t answer that. We made some decisions at the deadline to – as much as for roster purposes than anything. We got past that. He got called up because he deserves to be here, and tonight we just made a decision to just cut back and use other people.”
Cehlarik did finish with three shots on net and a couple of scoring chances in the first period and has four goals and 16 points in 15 games, so the potential is most definitely there for his offense. That goes doubly so when teamed with fellow big-bodied forwards in Coyle and Backes, but now it’s up to the 22-year-old Cehlarik to bring some youthful energy and enthusiasm to a line that could really wear down opponents.
Cassidy and the B’s coaching staff clearly issues a challenge to Cehlarik based on their actions in the narrow win over the Devils, and now they wait for their young power forward to respond with his next opportunity in Black and Gold.
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