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The start Jake DeBrusk needed

October 17, 2021, 12:12 AM ET [0 Comments]
Anthony Travalgia
Boston Bruins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It took Jake DeBrusk 10 games last season to score his first goal of the season. For a player that thrives off confidence, it was a difficult start to his season, one where he could never gain the confidence he needed.

DeBrusk ultimately finished the season with five goals.

This time around, it took one game, 24:43 into the season to be exact, for DeBrusk to put his first tally in the goal column, scoring the second of three Bruins goals in their 3-1 season opening victory over the Dallas Stars Saturday night.

“It’s always nice to help the team win,” said DeBrusk. “Obviously you want to get on the board as fast as possible and it seems like my mindset is working.”

Coming off a preseason campaign that saw DeBrusk score twice, arguably the Bruins best skater during the exhibition slate, it was exactly the way DeBrusk and the Bruins wanted his start to look like.

What was most impressive about the play was how it started.

A heavy forecheck from DeBrusk knocked the puck loose, allowing line-mates Nick Foligno and Erik Haula to work their magic before DeBrusk drove the net, finishing what he started with the goal.

"He [DeBrusk] did a good job. Simply playing behind their D, winning a foot race, creating a second effort play to create a turnover and it ends up on his stick in the slot,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy.

“You’ll get rewarded a lot if you’re able to make some of those plays. We make a play to Nick and all of a sudden Jake is in a good spot and he gets rewarded. Happy for him, good start, he had a good preseason so he’s just continuing how he started.”

The additions of Haula and Foligno to the Bruins third line gives them a new dynamic to their offense. Each brings a unique skillset to the table, ones that have complemented each other very well so far.

Through the time they’ve spent together in the preseason and again in Saturday’s victory, it’s been a nice start for the line.

"I thought Haula’s line is going to complement each other. I think Nick has enough skill as a net-front guy, or a net-driver, center-lane drive, to make some plays for those guys,” said Cassidy. “We know Jake has high-end talent, can score. Haula is the one we we’re not sure about, how he would complement them. They scored the winning goal for us, all three were in on it.”

DeBrusk likes to drive to the net, using his big frame to get himself to the dirty areas and earn himself some greasy goals. If Foligno and Haula can use their skillset to drive defenders away from the net, allowing DeBrusk to get to where he needs to go to create offense, a bounce back year is on tap for DeBrusk.

“That’s where I’ve scored all my goals in my career and all of my life. I’m good in front of the net and obviously a lot of good things have to happen, you need some bounces as well,” said DeBrusk. “Trying to force the issue of getting there, trying to not necessarily just stand in front of the net, but push the pace to attack. It’s all about an attack mentality right now.”

The line was heavy on the attack all night, holding a 6-2 shot attempt advantage over the Stars in the 8:19 of five-on-five ice time they spent together.

“It’s one of those things that I think we’re a possession line—it wasn’t necessarily pretty, Dallas plays in an interesting way. Obviously a very defensive style of game, there wasn’t much out there with the rushes per se, or Grade-A chances,” said DeBrusk.

“It was nice we could all contribute, it was obviously something we all wanted to do coming into the game today and do whatever we could to help the team.”

For DeBrusk, he will obviously need to continue to ride the wave of momentum and continue to produce offensively. The Bruins are relying on DeBrusk and that third line to pick up the slack and score big goals, especially on nights where the top-six is unable to carry the offensive load.

“I’ve been really happy with the way he’s played. Jake is a guy that feeds off confidence and he has it right now. Even the way he’s carrying himself off the ice, he has much better energy about him and a lot more excitement this year,” said Brad Marchand who had the Bruins other two goals including cashing in on a first period penalty shot.

“He’s a guy we need to rely on if we’re going to go far. He can be such a difference maker with his speed and his ability to put pucks in the net and we saw that tonight.”
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