Bruins’ Jack Studnicka Took Jim Montgomery’s Message ‘To Heart’

Will this be the year Studnicka slots into the lineup on a more consistent basis?

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September 28

Jack Studnicka has been trying to crack the Bruins roster for a few seasons now and hasn’t been able to find a groove at the NHL level.

Much of that, of course, stems from not getting a legitimate shot in Boston, but could this season be different?

Studnicka looked like a lock to be a mainstay in the Bruins’ lineup in 2021-22, but with the acquisition of several veteran players, Studnicka once again was the odd man out. While he did see time in the NHL last year due to injuries and COVID-19, the lack of reps and playing on the wing when he’s a natural center did him no favors.

But with a new head coach in town Studnicka is ready to prove himself.

After a lackluster performance in the Bruins’ preseason opener against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, Jim Montgomery had a conversation with Studnicka. The chat clearly resonated with Studnicka who responded in a big way Tuesday in Boston’s 3-2 overtime preseason win over the New York Rangers at TD Garden.

“I like the way he responded. I talked to him (Monday) about the opportunity to respond from Game 1 where I thought he didn’t play to the levels that he expects or that we expect of him,” Montgomery told reporters after the game. “(Tuesday) he did. it was nice to see him get rewarded with some offensive production.”

Aside from having 15:12 of ice time, Studnicka totaled two assists, had three shots on net and helped jumpstart the play that led to A.J. Greer’s game-winning goal. He wasn’t afraid to create plays, be aggressive on the forecheck and showed overall signs of being a legitimate center.

Montgomery’s message clearly did not go in one ear and out the other for Studnicka. And since his first impression in game action on the new coach wasn’t ideal, he stepped it up a bit for Game 2.

“We had a conversation, like he said, and I took it to heart,” Studnicka told reporters after the win. “I agreed with him. I didn’t show my best in Philadelphia. You can only make one first impression, so I made sure my second one was good.”

And good it was.

While it’s unclear whether Studnicka will make the lineup out of training camp, his signs of growth should be encouraging to Bruins fans. Studnicka wants to make it hard on Montgomery to send him down to Providence when cuts come around and if he continues to play how he did Tuesday, he’ll do just that.

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