The Boston Bruins had the perfect mix of veteran talent and youth development on display during their 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday at TD Garden.
Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron tallied three points (two goals) while veteran Brad Marchand netted two of his own. But it was younger players — Trent Frederic, Jack Studnicka, Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zaboril — who impressed head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“I told them after the game, I told all four of them how well I thought they played. I’m proud of them,” Cassidy told reporters on a postgame video conference.
“We need some contributions from younger guys. Certainly they don’t have to carry the team, but when they pitch in everyone feels good about their game, including the development guys,” Cassidy continued. “… So, that bodes well for the organization when those guys can push the group and then just go out and do their part, as I call it. I think they did that tonight very well.”
Frederic had perhaps the best game of all the younger players as the Bruins moved to 3-1-1 with a second consecutive win. The third-line forward, playing with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith, drew two penalties that both led to power-play goals and provided one assist in 14:31 of ice time. It was his physical style of play on the Coyle line which stood out to Cassidy more than anything, though.
“The abrasiveness, we welcome it,” Cassidy said. “It’s one of the things we talked to him about. You don’t have to go out there and be a goof, but get to the net, finish your checks, be honorary, get to the net, piss some people off, whatever it needs to be. I think he’s bought into all those things… Like I said, he did his part tonight, and more.”
Studnicka, who scored his first career goal Thursday, played 16:55 on the David Krejci line while Lauzon assisted on Smith’s goal while 17:19. Zboril, who Cassidy said had been a pleasant surprise, had an assist of his own in 19:51 of ice time.
Cassidy pointed to one specific reason why Frederic and the rest of the foursome seem to be coming into their own.
“I think it’s confidence, I think it’s knowing you belong,” he said.
Here are some other notes from the Bruins win over the Flyers:
— Frederic’s teammates have take notice, too.
“I think first and foremost he’s a big strong kid who can skate,” his linemate, Smith, told reporters. “He uses his legs, I think he can gain confidence in that. You can see he wants to do the right things. He’s talkative on the bench, he’s very open to changing things on the ice and working you. I think he did a great job of that.”
Marchand added perhaps the highest praise of all: “He just seems to make the right play all the time.”
— The Bruins have now scored 10 goals in their last four periods, but the three periods Saturday night composed their most complete game of the season. Boston held a 26-17 edge in shots, too.
“It’s what we look for. That’s the game plan going in no matter what happens,” Charlie Coyle told reporters when asked about playing a complete game. “Keep the game plan that we want no matter if we’re up, down, we got to trust it. And we did. It’s nice to get a few goals and win like that. But everyone played well. Everyone did their job and there was no let up at all.”
— Bergeron put together a walk-in-the-park, three-point night, but it felt so commonplace that it wasn’t even one of the main storylines after the win.
Marchand explained why rather perfectly.
“Yeah, I think that’s why you don’t hear about it, because you would have to talk about it every single night,” Marchand told reporters. “He always comes to play, he’s always competitive. He brings his best. His effort is unmatched out there, and it’s the reason why he’s one of the best players in the league and has been for 15 years.”
— The Bruins will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday at TD Garden.