The Bruins lost two key pieces when Nick Foligno was moved to injured reserve and Craig Smith was ruled out for Sunday’s clash with the San Jose Sharks, but Oskar Steen and Jack Studnicka fit right into the lineup in Boston’s eventual 4-3 win.
Prior to the game, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters his expectations for the pair’s return to the NHL, as well as how they might slot into the rotation moving forward.
Steen filled in for Smith, who “didn’t respond as well as (the team) had hoped” to treatment for a “nagging injury.”
“Last year, he brought some energy when he played up in Buffalo,” Cassidy told reporters before Sunday’s game. “It was irritating. People noticed him out there. That’s got to be part of his game with that line, being that presence. It’s what Nick does well when he was on that line that short period of time.
“He’s got some offensive upside. He’s got to find when he can get his shot off and have that mentality a little more. I think when he’s come up here, even the preseason games he’s played, he was thinking pass a lot when he’s got a good release. He really does and I think he’d give NHL goaltenders trouble when he gets a shot off.”
Steen was thinking “pass” in the second period Sunday, when he earned his first NHL point with an assist on a goal from Jake DeBrusk.
Cassidy said he expects to be versatile when it comes to where Studnicka will play.
“Jack’s up. He’ll play center with (Trent) Frederic. That’s where he’ll start,” Cassidy said. “He might move up with (Charlie) Coyle and (Taylor) Hall, but (Tomas) Nosek did a good job there the other day. But we can toggle those two, if necessary, depending on the situation.”
Studnicka had a quiet afternoon on the fourth line, finishing with a single shot on goal.
Cassidy said Foligno and Anton Blidh (upper body) likely will not join the team on the upcoming road trip to Florida, so that Sunday’s additions to the lineup worked out is promising for Boston.