Joakim Nordstrom is fighting his way back into the Boston Bruins’ lineup, literally.
The 28-year-old center dropped the gloves with Yanni Gourde during the second period of the B’s 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. Nordstrom landed some solid left jabs that Gourde is sure to remember when the two teams hit the ice again Saturday night.
But Nordstrom left quite the impression on someone else, too — and Bruce Cassidy made it loud and clear following Wednesday’s practice.
“Well I’m not yelling at him anymore, because he’ll beat the terror out of me,” Cassidy laughed with reporters. “I didn’t know he had that in him, so good for him.”
All jokes aside, Cassidy is pleased with Nordstrom’s gritty play and recognized how the nature of his role can be challenging since his contributions don’t always statistically translate.
“For a guy that’s a kind of secondary guy that’s a shot blocker, penalty killer, known for all the things that don’t necessarily show up in the score sheet, it’s tough some nights,” Cassidy said. “So, he did a really good job the last few games trying to inject himself (and) his energy into the game and defend the front of our net. It turned into a scrap yesterday and he did his job along the walls, so those dirty areas of the game.
“And hopefully he gets some puck luck around the net and provides a little offense for us, but that’s a secondary role for him. It’s more about the PK and the checking part and he did a really good job at that.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 4, 2020
The 6-foot-1, 194-pound center has competed in 45 of the team’s 67 games so far this season. In Nordstrom’s last 10 games, dating back to January 16, the Bruins have gone 9-1-0. During that same timeframe, when he wasn’t on the ice, Boston went 6-3-0.
The Bruins look to extend their three-game win streak on the road Thursday night when they face off against the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m. ET on NESN.