Bruins Notes: Bruce Cassidy Happy With State Of Team Going Into Break

BOSTON — The Bruins now have 10 days off after playing 51 games to close out the first half of the 2019-20 season.

Boston moved to 29-10-12 Tuesday when it defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 at TD Garden. It was a nice way to head into the 10-day All-Star break after losing in disappointing fashion to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

The lines looked a bit different than usual, with David Krejci (who was a game-time decision), centering the third line rather than his usual second-line spot. Charlie Coyle was on the second line centering Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork, while Jeremy Lauzon slotted into the third defense pairing alongside Matt Grzelcyk. Anton Blidh also was in the lineup with Joakim Nordstrom out of Tuesday’s tilt.

Despite the changes, head coach Bruce Cassidy liked what he saw in the win and is positive about his team heading into the break.

“The state of the team is, I think we’re in a solid position,” he said. “I don’t think anything’s been handed to us. I do believe there’s room for growth for that 60-minute effort from start to finish. Health-wise we’re trending well. Tuukka (Rask) skated (Tuesday), looks like he’s going to be fine. … Now you got a couple of young guys that we feel are pushing the group. I’ve always said that since I got the job that it would be good to have some of that to keep everyone on their toes in the right way. So that part I like about the team that we have some depth down there. Probably sums it up.”

The Bruins have struggled a bit this season in the second period of games and holding onto a lead. But once they went ahead on a Krejci game-winner in the third, they never looked back.

Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Bruins-Golden Knights game:

— Lauzon scored his second-career goal in the first period to tie things up at 1-1. And it was a blast.

The defenseman earned some high praise from his coach after the game.

“I thought he played hard,” Cassidy said. “He competes. He competes all over the ice. We’ve seen that before so we expected that. Scores a goal. Obviously in a one-goal game that matters. He did it the right way, didn’t overthink it. … I liked his game. I thought he brought what we needed.”

— Charlie McAvoy took a hit from Chandler Stephenson that sent him head-first into the boards in the second. It appeared to shake him up a bit. He was slow to get up, but returned to the ice for his next shift.

But he wasn’t the only defenseman to take a heavy hit. Grzelcyk and Cody Eakin collided in the third period, which resulted in Grzelcyk immediately going down the tunnel. He did, however, return before the game ended.

Cassidy didn’t have too much of an update on the duo.

“I gotta get a report … Charlie went into the boards and Grizz (did too) late. So let’s see what’s happening there.”

— Krejci made his return to the ice after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury. His third-period goal proved to be the difference-maker.

“You always want to play,” he said. “I felt pretty good (Monday) and (Tuesday) morning. I want to be out there. So they made a decision and I’m glad they did that.”

— The Bruins now will be off for the next 10 days for a much-needed bye week. They’re back in action Jan. 31 when Boston travels to Winnipeg to take on the Jets. Puck drop from MTS Centre is set for 8 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images