BOSTON - After a strong road trip during which he potted his first two goals of the season, Tim Schaller continued his strong play against the Canucks on Thursday night - with a slightly grittier style.
Schaller delivered a game-high four hits, but his biggest contribution may have been dropping the gloves with Vancouver's Erik Gudbranson after the 6-foot-5, 220-pound defenseman leveled Frank Vatrano from behind early in the first period.
The Bruins followed up with three power-play goals during Gudbranson's five-minute major for boarding. Gudbranson was suspended by the NHL for one game on Friday afternoon.
"I turned around and see Frankie was squished up against the boards pretty good with his back turned so I just assumed he just got hit from behind," said Schaller. "I'm going to stand up for my teammates so I jumped in.
"I kind of ran out of celebrations to do in the penalty box by myself. I was having a good time there by myself. It was good."
Video: BOS@ARI: Schaller cashes in on rebound in front
Whether it's contributing some offense from the bottom six or bringing a bit of physicality, Schaller is happy to do whatever it takes to benefit the team.
"I'm not always going to be a flashy guy - I don't think they want me to be a flashy guy - so I've got to the dirty work," said Schaller. "I like to think I sparked the team there a little bit. Not necessarily fight every night, but get the energy going for the guys."
Schaller's strong play and versatility has not gone unnoticed in the Bruins dressing room.
"Those are the things that bring a team together that are as important as anything," Cassidy said of Schaller's fight with Gudbranson. "Your teammate gets hit, you stick up for him. It's a reactionary thing. That's in a person, that's your character, and all of a sudden you're up against a pretty big opponent.
"Good for Timmy, that earns a lot of street cred, not only in your own locker room, but the other team notices those things too. That goes a long way.
"He's doing a great job with what we're asking him to do…good for him."
Adam McQuaid suffered a broken right fibula during Thursday's win over Vancouver after blocking a shot in the third period (it was the second stinging block he made on that shift). The puck struck the blue liner in nearly the same place as Colin Miller's slapper on Sunday in Vegas, which felled McQuaid and caused him to leave the game.
McQuaid will have surgery on Oct. 23 at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is expected to miss approximately eight weeks.
"Adam has been doing that for years around here," Cassidy said after the game. "He's one of the unsung heroes in that locker room. Doesn't get a lot of credit for what he does, the tough parts of the game, blocking shots, sticking up for your teammates.
"He actually manages the puck very well. He's not a flashy player. He's not a guy that just throws it away either. He makes good decisions with it, and every team needs Adam McQuaid's, and we're certainly fortunate to have him."
Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Kevan Miller also missed Friday's practice for maintenance days, but Cassidy expects all of them to play against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
"We'll have a better idea in the morning," said Cassidy, "but we're expecting all of them to play."
Bjork Pots Two
Throughout training camp, Anders Bjork had the benefit of being on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Bergeron's injury required Cassidy to make some changes to his lineup, but the trio was reunited during Thursday night's win over Vancouver.
The line combined for four goals and 10 points, including Bjork's first career multi-point game (goal, three assists). The rookie notched Boston's first goal when he cleaned up a Bergeron rebound, before blasting home a slapper during the B's five-minute power play.
Video: VAN@BOS: Bjork nets a heavy slapper on the power play
"He's an awesome little player, and you can tell he's really finding his stride right now," added Marchand. "He had an awesome game tonight, and [he's] so good at reading the ice, open areas and where to go. It takes a little bit of time to build chemistry, but I think we're coming along."
Bjork also made a terrific feed to Marchand on Boston's fifth goal. After Bergeron won a battle in the corner and got the puck to Bjork, the 21-year-old spun and found a wide-open Marchand, who whipped one over the shoulder of Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom.
"These guys are so easy to read off of," said Bjork. "They're going right away and they're in the right spot all the time, so it makes it easy for me to get open and receive a puck like I did there and make an easy pass to the slot to Marchy.
"Again, all of them just playing the right way and also with that much skill, it's pretty deadly."
Video: VAN@BOS: Bjork tucks a rebound home from in front
While Patrice Bergeron garnered most of the attention for his season debut, David Backes also made his return against the Canucks. The veteran landed three shots on goal and three hits in 18 minutes, 13 seconds of ice time, 4:35 of which came on the power play.
"There were moments where I felt real good," said Backes. "Late in shifts just didn't really have the jump or the legs maybe to make that one last play before the change but tried to manage my shift length."