BOSTON — In just his second season in the NHL, Jake DeBrusk has become renowned for his ability to celebrate. Of course, that only happens when you score goals and, well, it’s been a while since we had seen the 22-year-old celebrate.
But alas, the moment finally came, as DeBrusk scored with just under two minutes left in the second period in the Boston Bruins’ 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday at TD Garden.
After receiving a pass from an under duress Brad Marchand, David Krejci threw a puck to the net from the dot. DeBrusk was right on the doorstep, and he flipped it up and over Blackhawks netminder Collin Delia to put Boston up 4-1.
It was his first goal since the Bruins’ win over the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 8. Furthermore, in the 13 games between the two goals, DeBrusk — who slashed 16-27-43 his rookie season — only had managed just two assists.
After the game, DeBrusk expressed relief to finally contribute a goal.
“It’s something that’s been long overdue and something that I needed to be honest with you,” DeBrusk said. “Obviously didn’t do my normal celly, but it was just nice to get on the board and help the team. Obviously a big night for a couple guys, just try to build from there and put your best foot forward.”
It’s been a somewhat bumpy sophomore season for DeBrusk. A concussion sidelined him during December, and recently he’s been moved between the second and third line as part of Boston’s seemingly never-ending pursuit to find secondary scoring.
But throughout the, as he described it, “peaks and valleys,” he didn’t depart from his game.
“Personally, very frustrating to be honest with you. It got to me a little bit,” DeBrusk said of not scoring. “But at the same time I understood that there’s peaks and valleys in your seasons and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and that when you get through it it’s a lot of fun. Hopefully I’ve gotten through that, going into the next game it’s obviously a different game don’t get me wrong, but for the first time in a while I’m feeling good right now.
“You try not to think about it too much,” DeBrusk added, “but when it’s a month and a half with the bye week in there, it gets to your head naturally. You just try not to overcomplicate your game, but at the same time you do want to force things. You want to force more shots or try to get more chances, I guess, if that makes any sense. The one thing that was most frustrating for me was that I wasn’t really getting chances as of late. I knew I had to change something, and just nice that it finally worked out.”
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Blackhawks-Bruins game:
— Danton Heinen continues to thrive in his top-line role.
The 23-year-old, who again skated alongside Patrice Bergeron and Marchand, potted a goal and added a pair of assists in Tuesday’s win. In his last four games, Heinen has registered three goals and as many assists, and playing alongside Marchand and Bergeron really seems to be bringing out the best in the young winger.
As head coach Bruce Cassidy pointed out, Heinen’s clearly willing to go to the dirty areas of the ice, and when that’s done with the intent of scoring, he has a pair of linemates that will make sure he gets the puck.
“I think you realize how hard it is to go (into the dirty areas) and stay in there,” Heinen said. “That’s where a lot of the goals are scored these days in the NHL, so usually when you go there, good things happen.”
— Although it was a lopsided scoreline, the first few minutes of the game weren’t exactly smooth sailing for the Bruins.
Shortly after the four-minute mark of the first period, Alex DeBrincat dashed into the offensive zone, and as the Bruins’ defense collapsed on him, he shot the puck. Rask tried to turn it away with his right pad, but instead it hit the inside of the pad, went through his legs and into the net.
“Yeah, the first goal is totally on me, obviously,” Rask said. “I was tracking the puck to the corner and it was in the back of the net.”
— The Bruins finally have built a little cushion between them and the Montreal Canadiens in the standings, as their win gives them 72 points on the season to the Habs’ 69. The Bruins do have a game in hand on the Canadiens, but Montreal will get the game back when it plays Thursday.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images