Lauko Gaining Confidence
Young winger's goal, DeBrusk's OT power-play tally lift Bruins to 4-3 victory over Flyersby Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com
BOSTON - Jake DeBrusk tapped home the power-play winner from the doorstep midway through overtime to lift the Bruins to a 4-3 preseason victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night at TD Garden.
Video: PHI@BOS: DeBrusk pots PPG for overtime winner
Here are some notes and observations from Boston's fourth exhibition contest:
Jakub Lauko played just 9:06 in the overtime victory, but the 19-year-old certainly made the most of his limited ice time. The speedy winger electrified on the game's opening goal, which began with a stellar backcheck from the 2018 third-round pick.
Lauko raced through the neutral zone to break up a Flyers' rush and forced the puck back into the Bruins' end. Blue liner Josiah Didier retrieved the puck behind Boston's net and rimmed it around the boards to David Backes (two assists), who found Lauko back through the middle of the ice.
The Czech native deked around one Flyers defender at the red line and then poked the puck around another at Philly's blue line creating a brilliant self-pass off the boards, before ripping a wrister short side over the shoulder of Brian Elliott to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 10:28 left in the first.
Video: Lauko Chats with the Media
"I just saw free space and started skating hard as possible, shot it over his shoulder," said Lauko, who is set to make his professional debut this fall after playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. "I scored a couple of goals like that last season and it worked out well. Just happy for that…definitely every time when I get free space or I see the D is struggling, I try to skate as fast as possible, trying to show it every possible time."
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy noted Lauko's combination of speed and competitiveness as being key to the winger's success at the NHL level, while also acknowledging that there is still work to be done to round out his game away from the puck.
"That's what he does. When he's on his game, he's moving his feet, he's chipping and chasing, he's a tough guy to stop," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "He's got a nice shot, and can make some plays. He's still learning the ropes away from the puck…breakout situations, defensive zone situations. I think that's perfectly normal at 19.
"That'll be the challenge for him, to take care of the details. He'll always be fast, he'll always want to score, always be competitive, get under people's skin. I don't know where he's going to end up right now, to be honest, as a 19-year-old, where he'll play exactly this year. But he's certainly done a nice job for us in his time here."
Video: PHI@BOS: Lauko wires home wrister for opening tally
Krejci Leaves Early
There was some bad news on the injury front as David Krejci left after just two shifts (1:55 TOI) because of a lower-body ailment suffered on an awkward play in front of the Flyers net. Krejci took a hit to the knee area as he tried to maneuver through the slot, forcing into a semi-split as he fell to the ice. After the game, Cassidy said he did not think the injury was serious.
"Took a hit early on, tried to keep playing, but he just felt it was better to not push through," said Cassidy. "It wasn't worth it. Obviously, we'll know more tomorrow, but I don't think it's serious."
Video: Cassidy addresses media after 4-3 OT Win over PHI
Home Sweet Home
In addition to Krejci, several other members of the Bruins' veteran core made their preseason debuts, including Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Zdeno Chara, and Tuukka Rask. The exhibition contest was also marked the first time the Bruins had played on the TD Garden ice since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
"It's nice to get back in front of [the fans]," said Marchand. "It's always fun to play at home and have the support that we do here. It was great to get back and start to feel the puck again and start to get in some game situations."
The players also had to get used to the Garden's new look. As part of a massive offseason renovation with the construction of The Hub on Causeway, the building's signature yellow seats were converted to black.
"It's a lot harder when pucks go up in the air," said Marchand. "It's very easy to lose pucks in all of the dark seats, especially when it's half empty, so a little tougher that way. But other than that, you're so focused on the play on the ice. That's really the only time you lose it - maybe pucks going around the glass, stuff like that, but other than that it's the same game."
Video: Marchand Talks with Media
Rask was scheduled to play the entire game but felt good enough after two periods to call it a night. The veteran netminder, who made 16 of 17 saves, is likely to get the start again for Saturday's preseason finale against Chicago.
"It was good to kind of get in the action," said Rask. "We've been working hard on the ice. Game action's always different, but it's not too long ago since I last played so it was kind of easy to jump in it.
"I think it's just getting that mid-season feel…[try to] have patience, track pucks and try to make good reads and decisions with the puck. That's about it, so that part, I think, was pretty good today."
Dan Vladar took over to start the third and made 14 save on 16 shots, including two stops on a Kevin Hayes breakaway in overtime.
Despite a three-month layoff, it doesn't appear that the Bruins' chemistry has worn off. Fourth-line mates Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly (team-high five hits) connected for a nifty tying tally with just 1:46 remaining in regulation, after Backes flipped the puck into the neutral zone.
Kuraly collected the pass and cruised into the Flyers' zone, with Wagner taking Kuraly's feed in the slot before deking around Elliott and finishing five-hole to knot the game, 3-3.
"Backes chipped it out and we finally got a bounce and Sean made a nice play," said Wagner. "I guess that's kind of my move right now, staring at the five-hole and it opened up."
Video: PHI@BOS: Wagner dekes, beats Elliott to tie the game
Marchand (goal, assist) and Pastrnak (two assists) also hooked up on a pretty 2-on-1, give-and-go in the second period, with Marchand finishing it off into an open net to put Boston ahead, 2-1, just 1:03 into the middle frame.
"I had two months off of work, so still a little rusty but that's why we have these games to get back into it," said Pastrnak, who along with Marchand also assisted on DeBrusk's OT winner. "Every year is the same, it's going to take a couple games. It feels so fast all of a sudden, but it's good to get the W and we worked hard."