Steven Kampfer

Bruins send Steven Kampfer to Providence, call up rugged Jeremy Lauzon 

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File photo

Bruins send Steven Kampfer to Providence, call up rugged Jeremy Lauzon 

The Bruins decided after a disappointing loss to Pittsburgh to add a little toughness to their back end, and they didn’t waste any time ahead of their final game before a 10-day break over NHL All-Star Weekend and the bye week.

The Bruins have called up rugged, young D-man Jeremy Lauzon from Providence and assigned Steven Kampfer back to the P-Bruins after once again ably handling duties as a spare seventh D-man over the last few weeks.

The 22-year-old Lauzon has one goal and 13 points along with a plus-18 rating in 43 games for the P-Bruins this season after making his NHL debut in Boston last year, and the 6-foot-1, 205-pound player has continued his style as a strong, hard-to-play-against defenseman that the B’s are currently missing a little bit of with both Kevan Miller (kneecap) and Connor Clifton (upper body injury) unavailable for the time being.

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The one area where Lauzon has been lacking is in the puck-moving and decision-making department, but it appears that’s one place where he’s made some leaps and bounds in his third pro season in Providence.

Bruce Cassidy mentioned over the weekend that Clifton will be out until mid-February with his injury and Miller has just begun small sessions of skating on his own after a number of setbacks while attempting to return from a couple serious kneecap fractures.

The B’s head coach was also openly critical of the “gifts” that his defensemen were giving up in Sunday’s loss to the Penguins when both Charlie McAvoy and John Moore had soft plays around the Boston net that led directly to Pittsburgh goals while the B’s blew a three-goal lead once again.

Talking Points: Jake DeBrusk, Steven Kampfer give Bruins needed spark in win

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Talking Points: Jake DeBrusk, Steven Kampfer give Bruins needed spark in win

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk was benched for most of the first period after he admittedly didn’t step in front of a shot early in the game. The message was received by DeBrusk, who went out and scored two power play goals within 18 seconds of each other in the third period to win the game for the Black and Gold.

Credit to DeBrusk, who has consistently responded when challenged by Bruce Cassidy over the years just as he did on Sunday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

DeBrusk becomes just the fourth player to crack double-digits in goals for the Bruins this season behind the big three on the Perfection Line, and finished with four shot attempts in 12:44 of ice time. He’s still clearly working on the small details of his game, but DeBrusk is also still responding in the right when pushed by the B’s coaching staff.

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BLACK EYE: How far has Jimmy Vesey fallen from a few seasons ago when a handful of NHL teams were vying for him in the “Vesey Sweepstakes?” Vesey, who has just four goals and 11 points in 36 games for the Sabres this season, had an awful turnover to David Pastrnak in Friday night’s loss in Buffalo and then was almost completely invisible in the Sunday night loss in Boston.

Vesey finished with one shot on net, one hit and one penalty in a completely forgettable 8:49 of ice time. He had company in the non-factor department with Kyle Okposo also registering something pretty close to a zero in the game against Boston as well.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins were merely okay after the first two periods and had managed just two shots on net in the opening 20 minutes, so it wasn’t looking all that great 40 minutes into the game. But then the B’s managed to kick into higher gear in the third period once they got a tripping and hooking double-penalty called on Johan Larsson that gave the B’s an extended four-minute power play.

Once that happened DeBrusk scored the two goals in 18 seconds of time and the B’s had themselves a two-goal lead in the third period that they wouldn’t give up. They outshot the Sabres by a 9-7 margin in the third and certainly didn’t sit back on their lead.

HONORABLE MENTION: Give credit to Steve Kampfer for stepping up and getting it done in his role as the spare D-man that had to spend some time in the AHL before getting bumped back up when injuries hit in Boston. Kampfer had a couple of assists including a secondary helper on the game-winning goal for Jake DeBrusk, and was active in pretty much all departments in his 19:26 of ice time for the Black and Gold.

Kampfer finished with the two assists, four shot attempts, three hits, two takeaways and a blocked shot for his efforts. He will continue to get work as Connor Clifton went down with an injury during the win on Sunday night.

BY THE NUMBERS: 234-113-48 – the Bruins home record after playing their final game of the 2010s where they racked up 516 points. The total ranked them seventh overall in the NHL in home wins and sixth overall in home points.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s a privilege to put on the Bruins sweater every night. And you might not have your A-game, but you’ve got to bring your B-game to help your team win and be a good pro. So that’s a little bit of the message between periods. I didn’t think there was enough of that of late.” –Bruce Cassidy, on what the message was behind benching Jake DeBrusk in the first period.

Extra defenseman Steven Kampfer placed on waivers by the Bruins

Extra defenseman Steven Kampfer placed on waivers by the Bruins

With the return of John Moore to good health and a general lack of tight focus to the team recently, the confluence of events pushed the Bruins to make a move ahead of a four-game road trip next week.

The Bruins announced that they have waived veteran defenseman Steve Kampfer at noontime on Sunday for the purpose of sending him down to the AHL. It was clear the B’s were going to opt for the 31-year-old Kampfer rather than Connor Clifton, who just a couple of weeks ago passed the 60 NHL games played barrier that would also require waivers for him to be sent down to the AHL.

There’s a far greater chance that a team would put a claim in on the 24-year-old Clifton, who has two goals and a plus-5 rating in 24 games for the Black and Gold this season.

The final straw for Kampfer was the healthy return of Moore, who missed the first 28 games of the season coming back from shoulder surgery. But Moore has played in back-to-back games for the Bruins and collected an assist in Saturday night’s 4-1 loss to the Avalanche while showing that he’s all the way back from an injury suffered during last spring’s playoff run.

Kampfer has played in just four games for the Bruins this season as their seventh defenseman after putting up three goals and six points in 35 games as their spare D-man last season. While there’s a chance that a team could put a claim in on Kampfer, the likelihood given his age and experience level is that he’ll head to Providence to stay sharp for when another round of injuries inevitably hit the Bruins on the back end.

There’s also no question that a player being put on waivers that’s been with the Bruins for the last couple of seasons might be enough to also shake the complacency out of a B’s group that’s been sleepwalking against opponents over the last couple of weeks. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, of course, but they have needed a handful of third period comebacks after making slow starts the norm as of late.

There’s also the chance that the Bruins need the cap savings associated with Kampfer’s $800,000 cap hit after Moore’s $2.75 million cap figure was added back onto Boston’s books once he got healthy earlier this week.

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