B’s DeBrusk goes offside to find game
Jake DeBrusk is finding his game.
The Bruins winger came close to scoring his first goal of the season on Thursday night while crashing the net in a 4-1 win over the Oilers. It didn’t come quite yet, though his hard work has been put in.
“There hasn’t been any production yet, but every game I’m feeling comfortable and trying to generate more chances,” DeBrusk said. “I can’t wait to (celebrate) that first one, that’s for sure.”
DeBrusk was moved to the right side to accomodate Joakim Nordstrom, who did score, on the left of David Krejci. Despite playing away from his natural wing, DeBrusk didn’t make mistakes with the puck, and still had some jump to his offense.
“The challenge would be through the neutral zone, you’re exposing the puck,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “When you’re on your off side, I think guys that can separate quick have an easier time . . . . I thought he handled that well.”
DeBrusk was also taking pucks differently on his offside. It’s a role with which he’s familiar. In his breakout Game 7 playoff game against the Maple Leafs last season, he scored two goals on his off-wing.
And against the Oilers, he did play arguably his most complete game of the young season.
“I thought he played well on that line,” said Cassidy. “He won a puck battle that led to Nordstrom’s goal with (Milan) Lucic. He got a shot off on that side, that’s another challenge, you’re exposing it when you shoot, so it’s a little different animal with how you attack.”
DeBrusk played on that side at times in the preseason and had a strong exhibition season, so the Bruins weren’t uncomfortable putting him in that role.
“I think it’s just you’re on the other side of the ice,” said DeBrusk. “I played it in junior, had a little bit in Providence as well. I played it growing up. I’m pretty confident on that side. It’s a little different going into the game. There’s a couple of times I found myself wandering to the left side.”
DeBrusk and Krejci are a pairing that likely won’t be split this season, but in the quest to find a right winger for the second unit, the Bruins are experimenting. Today against Detroit, the Bruins will have Nordstrom staying with that line, though the tinkering isn’t done yet.
Meanwhile, DeBrusk is slowly but surely finding his own groove, no matter what’s going on around him.
“It’ll sort itself out is the way to look at it,” said Cassidy. “I do believe we have lots of good players. Some of them are still searching for their game, obviously. I believe they’ll find it.”
LET’S GET IT ON: Edmonton’s Drake Caggiula (91) and the Bruins’ David Backes square off, while the Oilers’ Ryan Strome (18) gets a hold of Anders Bjork during Thursday night’s game.