BostonBruins.com - Since appearing in his first NHL games with the Bruins in 2012, Ryan Spooner has been searching for the right fit in the Bruins lineup. Now in 2018, it appears the right fit for the natural center might just be on the right side.
Spooner was shifted to David Krejci's right wing when the Bruins played the Senators on December 30. The Ottawa-native has proceeded to pot six goals in his past eight games, including the Bruins second goal in Thursday's 5-2 victory over the Islanders.
Video: BOS@NYI: Spooner swats backhander past Halak for lead
While his skill has never been in doubt, coaches have often implored him to be harder on pucks and to go to the high-traffic areas of the ice.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has noticed the message appears to have gotten through to Spooner.
"I just like the fact that he competed for the puck and scored a goal," said Cassidy. "That's a greasy goal. And if we had said that about Ryan Spooner, that's the part of the game where we are encouraging out of him. Score some greasy goals.
"He'll make his nice plays, but get some greasy goals. I think he's done that. He's done a real good job with it, and you have to tip your hat to him."
Spooner's added competitiveness may stem from his desire be in the lineup, regardless of what position he plays.
"I think he wants to be in the lineup and play and be a part of it and contribute," said Cassidy. "That's what I see. And when I have discussions with him, those are his words. He wants to be a part of it. If he has to play the wing, he plays the wing. "
While he has seen time at center and left wing in the past, Spooner had very limited experience on the right wing entering the December 30 contest in Ottawa. Cassidy noted that right wing is actually a good fit for Spooner.
"I think personally, the right side is not a bad spot for him because he sees the ice better if he turns up," said Cassidy. "He's not a guy that gets up the wing and rips it anyway. I think it's worked out well."
For his part, Spooner has been happy with the success of the team, but stressed the importance of not getting too comfortable.
"We can't really get content with the way that we are playing," said Spooner. "That's something we can't really do. We just have to go out there, just play hard, we've been good with that so it's good to see."
On Saturday, the Bruins will take on Montreal for the third time in eight days. The B's look to complete the three-game sweep, having taken the first two games by scores of 4-3 (SO) and 4-1.
The last time the Bruins took three or more consecutive games against the Canadiens was during the 2011-12 season. The B's won four straight, outscoring the Habs' 10-6 in games spanning from November 21, 2011 to February 15, 2012.
Montreal has struggled of late, going 2-6-2 in their past 10 games. The Canadiens sit in 6th place in the Atlantic Division with a 18-21-6 record and 42 points.
Forward Alex Galchenyuk leads the Canadiens offense in points (26), while captain Max Pacioretty follows close behind with 25. Brendan Gallagher leads the way in goal scoring with 16 tallies on the season.
Goaltender Carey Price, who was named to the 2018 All-Star team, has started 32 of Montreal's 45 games. He has posted a 13-15-4 record with a 2.96 goals against average and .908 save percentage. He has a career record of 24-10-5 record against the Bruins, but has lost two straight to the Bruins.