BOSTON — Despite a brutal run of injuries, the Boston Bruins have earned 11 points in their last 8 games. With a lineup laden with rookies and callups from Providence, they are managing to keep their heads above water while waiting for the likes of Brad Marchand, David Krejci, David Backes, Adam McQuaid, Noel Acciari, Ryan Spooner and Anton Khudobin to get healthy.
Here are three quick hits from Monday night’s 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild:
THE GIVING SEASON
The stat sheet showed a game-high three giveaways for David Pastrnak on Monday night. His turnover on Minnesota’s third goal was particularly egregious.
Coach Bruce Cassidy had an insightful answer when Mick Colageo of The New Bedford Standard Times asked him about the challenge of trying to get Pastrnak to be more responsible without stifling his superb offensive instincts.
“It’s a tough job right there. It’s a good question. Sometimes you’re going to give him some rope. Hopefully he doesn’t hang himself with it. Other times you are going to pull back. That’s just a feel – sometimes it matters how the rest of the group is going. Who else is in the lineup? Are you putting a better player out there in that position?” Cassidy said.
“Sometimes you just send a hard message. . . . Hey, enough is enough. There’s different ways to do it in game. Tomorrow, there’s conversations. Hey, do you want to be a leader? You’re getting into that phase of your career. Is that how leaders play? Kind of see what he thinks of the whole situation. He might have a different answer, so those are the challenges that coaches face trying to grow his game without shutting him right off. So that’s what we’ll do tomorrow.”
Interesting. I don’t suppose there will be a camera from “Behind the B” in the room when Cassidy and Pastrnak talk things over, will there?
SZWARZ MEASURING UP
Jordan Szwarz is a feel-good story in the making.
A year ago this week, Providence Bruins general manager John Ferguson Jr. tore up Szwarz’ tryout contract and signed him to an AHL deal.
He went on to lead the P-Bruins in scoring and earn an NHL contract for 2017-18.
Recalled from Providence three games ago, Szwarz on Monday had his best game to date. He played a solid 200-foot game, assisted on two goals and was plus-three.
And, after playing 14 minutes at center between Frank Vatrano and Jake DeBrusk, he earned an atta-boy from Cassidy.
“He competes hard. He’s on the right side of battles. He does a lot of little things well,” said Cassidy.
“I’ve liked his game. He’s had young guys on his wing and he’s doing a good job with them.”
For his part, Szwarz is feeling good about his play. “Each game that goes by I feel more and more confident,” he said.
It remains to be seen whether Szwarz can do enough to stick around after Boston’s injured players get healthy, but he is off to a good start.
SIGNS OF LIFE FROM BELESKEY
He still doesn’t have any points this season, but Matt Beleskey did his part on Monday. In 11:16, he had three shots and two hits, as well as a fight with Luke Kunin just eight seconds after Vatrano had given the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the second period.
“I thought that Matt did a good job today all around the ice. He was really solid defensively, you know, he’s getting pucks behind their defenseman, and he’s another guy that had missed some games so he wants to prove that he belongs in there every night and that’s a great attitude for those guys instead of worrying about other stuff, they just went out when their number was called and played and played hard,” said Cassidy.
“So good job for Matt and that’s something that he can do for us. He has that ability, when the abrasive play starts he can answer the bell.”