Plain and simple, the Boston Bruins need more from their two second line mainstays.
That’s not to say it’s been a particularly bad season for Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, but they clearly haven’t been totally in sync for stretches this season, especially lately. Some of it can be chalked up to the lack of a stable right winger, but that excuse only goes so far when, say, Charlie Coyle gets a shot in that role.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy broke up the two at one point during a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. After the game, Cassidy was asked about the lack of chemistry between the two forwards, and he was candid in response.
“I don?t know, I?d say everything (is lacking) but I don?t know if that?s fair,” Cassidy said, via a team-provided transcript. “But right now, they just haven?t connected for whatever reason. I don?t want to put it on one individual or the other. As a line they?re not — I?ve always talked to David, when he?s going he tends to pull people along. Jake?s also, what now, he?s been in the league for 180-some-odd games? Should be able to look after himself too at this point on a nightly basis, and they should be feeding off of one another. Charlie went in there, didn?t seem to generate much for them so we moved some people around. I mean, that?s clearly a group of players that, it doesn?t matter who they?re with, we need to see a little bit more attack out of them. Some nights it goes in, you go through stretches — everything goes in, something doesn?t –but I just think they?ve been too quiet for how good they are. And I don?t have a great answer for what the reason is, it might just be a stretch of the season we look back and say, ?Hey, we?re off.? Or it might be something a little more. But we pulled them apart today, we?ll see how it looks going forward.
What does DeBrusk “looking after himself” mean?
“Anything — just playing the game, attacking,” Cassidy said. “The other day he drew a penalty by chipping a puck behind a guy. His biggest asset is his foot speed, so he has to use that. Be a little bit more tenacious on pucks, create some of his own shots, to take a basketball term. Doesn?t always need Krech to get him the puck; go chase one down or win a foot race. We chipped a lot of pucks today, the puck was bouncing all over. Would have been a good night for it. Find his own shot one-on-one. Edmonton had a couple of guys do that, beat us a couple times one-on-one. You have to try that a little bit of that stuff, be harder on it. I think that?s how Anders (Bjork) has turned the corner a little bit, that?s what (Brad Marchand) does, (David Pastrnak). Little bit is on Jake to initiate, have some second effort on pucks and some will on it to create some offense.”
DeBrusk has 11 goals and nine assists in 37 games this season, while Krejci has posted 28 points on eight goals and 20 assists in 35 games.
Here’s how the lines looked after Cassidy changed them up.
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Charlie Coyle
Danton Heinen–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk–Par Lindholm–Anders Bjork
Joakim Nordstrom–Sean Kuraly–Chris Wagner