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Cehlarik Leads Bruins to Prospects Challenge Sweep

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / Boston Bruins

BUFFALO - Peter Cehlarik is not known for an elite goal-scoring ability.

 

In 132 career games for Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League, the Slovakia native has tallied just 22 goals and 49 points.

 

But at this weekend's Prospects Challenge, the 2013 third-round pick showed he has plenty of finishing touch.

Cehlarik scored a goal in each of the Bruins' 4-3 victories over the Devils and Sabres, while adding a slick assist in Monday night's finale against host Buffalo. After a career-high 11 goals and 20 helpers last season with Lulea, perhaps the offensive part of his game is on the rise.

 

"You don't expect everything to be great, but the first two games of the preseason have been good," Cehlarik said following the 4-3 win over Buffalo Monday at HarborCenter. "I tried to show up and play good for the team. I'm glad we won those two."

 

On Sunday against the Devils, Cehlarik planted himself in front of the net and tapped home a feed from Colton Hargrove for the Black & Gold's first tally of the game. A night later, he once again notched the opening goal.

 

Cehlarik picked up a turnover in the neutral zone and busted in all alone, before firing one past Buffalo goalie Jason Kasdorf.

 

"There was a turnover in the neutral zone, had a breakaway, so I went low blocker. It worked, so glad it went in," said the 21-year-old. "I wanted to adjust to the speed here…I think it's been a good two games."

 

It was that fight for loose pucks that stood out to Providence coach Kevin Dean, who oversaw the Bruins prospects during the tournament.

 

"He's an intelligent player, sees the ice well, and obviously has some good finish," said Dean. "He competed hard. That's what really impressed me about him, was his compete at the puck; he was taking the body, he was taking hits to make a play.

 

"His whole game is pretty solid with the puck. There are some things away from the puck that we'll have to work on, as there is with every player in the group."

 

Now, Cehlarik, who signed a three-year entry-level contract with Boston in June, is focused on main Bruins training camp, which begins on Thursday back in the Hub.

 

"My goal is to fight for a spot on the team," said Cehlarik, whose assist Monday night came on Jake DeBrusk's power-play tally. "For me, adjusting to the lifestyle here and the game speed and everything around…Just get to know everything and feel better every day.

 

"[This tournament] gives you the confidence. To play with confidence, it's a big thing. I'll try to take it into the next practices and the games."Video: Bruins down Devils and Sabres at Prospects Challenge

 

Here are some other observations from the Bruins' 4-3 win over the host Sabres on Monday night.

 

Accomplishing What They Set Out to Do

 

When 25 Bruins prospects arrived in Buffalo on Friday for this tournament, the sole focus and goal was not necessarily to win. It was about individuals showing off their abilities in front of Boston's management and coaching staff ahead of main camp.

 

Dean was confident all of the players accomplished just that, while he was also happy to leave the three-team tournament as the only squad to win both games.

 

"It was more about the individuals and how they play. Results are terrific, we're happy with that. But like I said, I'm happy with how the guys were as advertised," said Dean.

 

 "We talked about it before last night, 'You're all here because you're good hockey players. You've all done something well in your careers, you have to go out and show your assets. Don't worry so much about what you're not good at, go out and do what you do best and we'll fix the things down the road or as we go forward that need improving.'

 

"I think for the most part the guys did that, they skated and competed hard."

 

The weekend gives the portion of prospects headed off to training camp a bit of a head start, with two games already under their belts.

 

"Part of this is evaluation," said Dean. "All of management is here. Part of it is just getting these young kids - they need a little bit more time to get their games in order. These games really help when they step on the ice Friday at main camp."

 

Jake DeBrusk Was at it Again

 

DeBrusk, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, once again showed off his offensive skill. After depositing a Danton Heinen, cross-crease pass for a power-play goal on Sunday night against the Devils, the 19-year-old scored on an almost identical play against Buffalo.

 

This time, DeBrusk - who landed five shots on net - took a cross-crease pass from Cehlarik and put it home to make it 2-0, midway through the first period.

 

DeBrusk and Cehlarik were the only Bruins to finish with multiple goals during the tournament.

 

Sean Kuraly Gets on the Board

 

When Sean Kuraly signed his entry-level contract with the Bruins in March, he was assigned to Providence for the remainder of the season. But an injury prevented him from suiting up for any games.

 

Thus, this weekend was the first time Kuraly had the chance to represent the Black & Gold in game action.

 

The 22-year-old out of Miami (Ohio) performed well, launching three shots on goal Monday night against Buffalo, including a shorthanded goal that put the Bruins ahead 3-0 late in the first period. The center also won nine of his 15 face-offs.

 

"I hadn't seen him because he was injured at the end of last year when he came into Providence for a couple weeks," said Dean. "When he gets up and going his speed is good. He did a nice job on draws again tonight.

 

"It's good to have that presence on face-offs and PK at big times in the game. He was winning his share of draws. Again, there are areas of his game that we'll work on, but it's a nice start these last two nights for him."

 

News and Notes

 

The Bruins penalty kill was immense once again. A night after killing off two of three 5-on-3s, Boston pulled the trick against Buffalo. Overall, the Bruins held the Sabres at bay on all six of Buffalo's power plays. For the weekend, Boston's penalty kill was 11 for 12. The power play was 4 for 14…Daniel Vladar got the start in goal against Buffalo, making 27 saves on 30 shots…Jesse Gabrielle scored the Bruins fourth goal against the Sabres, a power-play tally, off of feeds from Drake Rymsha and Hargove. Gabrielle also had the Bruins only fighting major of the weekend.

 

Final Stats

 

Goals

 

Jake DeBrusk (2)

Peter Cehlarik (2)

Josh Atkinson

Anton Blidh

Jesse Gabrielle

Sean Kuraly

 

Assists

 

Colton Hargrove (2)

Jakub Zboril (2)

Colby Cave

Peter Cehlarik

Domenic Commisso

Danton Heinen

Jeremy Lauzon

Drake Rymsha

 

Points

 

Cehlarik (3)

DeBrusk (2)

Hargrove (2)

Zboril (2)

 

The 2016 Boston Bruins Rookie Camp is presented by AT&T.

 

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