The Boston Bruins have themselves a three-game winning streak thanks partly to a stellar third period from Jake DeBrusk.
The winger helped lift Boston over the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in three days, scoring two power-play goals in just 18 seconds in the final frame. He now has 11 goals this season.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 30, 2019
Despite some solid numbers, DeBrusk has been a bit streaky to start the 2019-20 season. So head coach Bruce Cassidy had a message for the young forward.
“Listen, the message — yes — and I don’t want to get into every bit of it, but the message in general is it’s a privilege to put on this jersey,” Cassidy said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We expect everybody to play the Boston Bruins’ way, to the standard, and some nights you’re not going to have it in certain areas of the game, but you’re going to contribute. You’re going to find a way to bring your B-game, help us win and get ready for the next game. And essentially that’s the message.”
The message isn’t directed solely at DeBrusk, however.
“It wasn’t just (DeBrusk), there’s a few other guys that we give (the message) to,” Cassidy said. “And we just want to see growth in their game. They’re guys we rely on. We need those guys to be the best team we’re going to be. We need those third, fourth, fifth-year guys — and maybe I’ll put Anders (Bjork) in that too — to step up and be good, solid players for us and learn from the veteran guys that have been through it. And that’s the ask.”
Bruce Cassidy chats with Jack and Brick about his message to Jake DeBrusk… pic.twitter.com/A5iaewIQ1J
— NESN (@NESN) December 30, 2019
Here are some more notes from Sunday’s Bruins-Sabres game:
— Connor Clifton is the latest Bruins defender to go down.
The blueliner left the game in the first period with what the team calls an upper-body injury. It’s unclear how he was injured.
Clifton is the third Bruins defender to succumb to injury of late. Torey Krug (upper-body) and Charlie McAvoy both sustained injuries during Monday’s epic win over the Washington Capitals, leading Boston to call upon Stephen Kampfer’s talents in the interim.
— Brandon Carlo certainly is coming into his own.
After a solid 2018-19 campaign, the 23-year-old has played a major role in the Bruins’ 2019-20 success. Carlo has four goals and eight assists while averaging just over 20 minutes in ice time in just 39 games this season, but it’s not all about the numbers on the stat sheet.
“I definitely feel like my game has been growing, especially these last two years,” Carlo told NESN’s Dale Arnold and Billy Jaffe after the game. “Just having confidence is a big thing that I’ve learned. The mental side of things has been pretty tough, I didn’t really expect that coming into this league. Overall, I feel like I’m getting a better grasp on that, and it’s been really helpful.”
And his assertiveness has been key for the Bruins as well.
“I think it’s just taking advantage of the right opportunities and staying on the right side of the puck,” Carlo said. “For me, I’m a defensive guy and I always want to be on the defensive side of the put. You see with a player like Jack Eichel, if you let him get around you, he’s going to use his weight and his body to force his way to the net, so you can’t really allow that to happen.”
— A lot has changed over the last decade, both on the Bruins and in the NHL.
This season is Cassidy’s fourth at the helm, and the 54-year-old has seen a decent shift in the way the game is played. After all, times are a-changin’.
“I can’t speak for the whole decade … I think the game has just changed where (there’s) a little more speed in the game, rosters are built a little differently, players are drafted, they come up and the smaller, faster guy has taken over from some of the bigger, heavy guys,” Cassidy said. “Now that may change. You’re seeing it a little bit with St. Louis’ style of play, it tends to be a copy-cat league.
“So, we’ll see how it goes going forward. I’d like to think we have a good mix, most of the better teams will or do, so that’s our game plan and we’ll see how that works for us.”
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images