BOSTON - Jimmy Hayes made sure to make the most of his opportunity to get back into the lineup on Tuesday night. The winger, who had been a healthy scratch for the previous seven games, did not appear on the scoresheet, but his contribution on the Bruins' first goal did not go unnoticed.
Hayes parked his 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame in front of Detroit goalie Jared Coreau, providing the perfect screen for Kevan Miller, who let go a wrister from the left circle that sailed past the Red Wings netminder and gave Boston a 1-0 lead just over three minutes into their eventual 4-3 overtime win.
"If he's not there, there's no goal, probably," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the win. "He did a great job, he hasn't played in a while…give him credit. He came, he played hard and he got an opportunity to get back into the lineup."
Julien made sure to compliment the work ethic of the Dorchester native, who had not played since Jan. 8 in Carolina.
"What people don't realize is that he worked extremely hard throughout the summer - he came in in great shape," continued Julien. "He did a lot of adjustments to his training, his lifestyle and everything else.
"He's had a tough start, and it's too bad because right now in that dressing room he has a lot of players hoping that he can really get himself going."
Hayes suited up alongside Dominic Moore and Tim Schaller on Boston's fourth line and knew his role was to try to provide some energy each time he hit the ice.
"It's always a great feeling to get back in," Hayes said Thursday morning as the Bruins prepared for their tilt with the Penguins at TD Garden. "You sit out for a while and your number gets called again, you have to be ready to go.
"You just gotta get out there and get back to basics, find a way to create energy. You've got to find a way to contribute if you're not scoring, do the little things. I think that's what our line did as a unit the other night."
Hayes, who has two goals and an assist this season, believes Moore and Schaller complement his game well.
"They both play a really hard-nosed game," said Hayes. "I think Dom Moore doesn't get enough credit for the skill he has, he's been scoring all types of goals this year and making lots of plays.
"Timmy Schaller's been finding those soft spots all year and capitalizing. I think those guys play hard, play a simple game and we can feed off each other."
If Hayes is able to stay in the lineup against the Penguins, he'll make sure he's using his big body in front of the net once again.
"That's what I'm going to have to continue to do," said Hayes. "Gonna have to get to that area, that's where I'm going to be successful, that's where I'm going to have to score from.
"If you're not putting them in you have to find ways to help other guys put them in."
Right Back at Them
It has been just four days since the Bruins fell, 5-1, to the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Boston is hoping for a much better effort against the defending Stanley Cup champs this time around.
"I think it's important that we just continue to do the right things here," Julien said of building off the Bruins' win over the Red Wings. "I think we did a much better job last game against Detroit of playing our game and doing the right things in order to give us a chance to do those things.
"Now it's a chance to redeem ourselves here against Pittsburgh. For me, it's not a bad thing to have to go up against those guys again. I'm looking forward to tonight's game."
Slowing down the Penguins' high-paced attack will be the focus. Such a task may be a bit easier as Pittsburgh will be without Evgeni Malkin, who will miss the game with a lower-body injury.
"I think denying their speed is probably going to be one of the main things," said Bergeron. "They want to play with that puck, they want to keep it, especially in the neutral zone.
"I think if we deny that speed, deny that space, we might get the puck back and create some offense. We have to go in their zone and sustain the pressure."
The Bruins will have two representatives at this weekend's All-Star festivities in Los Angeles, with both Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand - who was fined $10,000 Thursday morning for a dangerous trip on Detroit's Niklas Kronwall during Tuesday's game - making their first career trip to the big game.
Two-time All-Star Patrice Bergeron, who was at the game in 2015 and 2016, said the weekend is always exciting.
"A lot of fun. It's definitely busy, but it's a great experience," said Bergeron. "You try to soak everything in, take everything in. I'm sure these guys are going to enjoy. It's definitely well deserved for them. Really happy for them."
Only five Bruins took the ice for a pregame skate at Warrior Ice Arena. Bergeron joined Austin Czarnik, Zane McIntyre, John-Michael Liles, and Joe Morrow.