Boston Bruins Expect Beleskey Hits to Keep Coming


Oct 14, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) and Boston Bruins left wing Matt Beleskey (39) collide against the wall while battling for the puck during the first period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey to their lineup will bring some energy and wallop behind it.

In his last game before he was injured – a 5-3 Bruins win Oct. 17 in Arizona – Beleskey registered a whopping 10 hits along with a block and takeaway in 17:23 of ice time.  He ranks second on the B’s in hits with 22 in just five games, behind Zac Rinaldo and Adam McQuaid, who are tied for first with 24 each although they have both played two more games than Beleskey.

Beleskey was also known for throwing his weight around with his previous team, the Anaheim Ducks, where he finished third in hits the past two seasons.

“I like his game,” Coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe late last month. “He’s in your face, he competes every shift and that’s what we want out of our players, guys that are going to come and compete all the time.’’

The left shooting Beleskey returned to the Bruins lineup Oct. 27 against the Coyotes in Boston after missing two games with an undisclosed upper body injury suffered off the ice.  After playing on a line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak to open the season and notching a goal and an assist over five games, he was skating wing with Jimmy Hayes and taking passes from center Ryan Spooner while driving the net. “He’s a great playmaker,” Beleskey said of Spooner on the Bruins Blog Oct. 27. “He played great last game, and I’m looking forward to playing with him. [He’s a] good offensive player, [Hayes] is a big guy — puck control guy — so hopefully we can build on the little bit we had going this morning and in practice together the last few days.”

Oct 12, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Matt Beleskey (39) and left wing David Pastrnak (88) look for a loose puck under Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Beleskey, like other new players on the team, is still finding his way into the B’s lines and system and trying to develop chemistry with linemates. “You’ve got to give guys a chance to fit in,” Julien said in the Bruins Blog. “In my mind, he’s going to be fine. I think it’s just a matter of him fitting in. We know what he’s capable of doing. He’s a very intense player that is gritty and will go to the net and all that stuff, so I think good things are going to come out of him.”

Shuffling into different lines up and down the lineup is something Beleskey is capable of and has grown accustomed to since playing with a variety of the Ducks’ players, including their top lines. He should fit in well with the Bruins’ traditional hard-hitting style, and has the hustle and fearlessness to find open areas around the net. “I’m trying (to) get on the body, get back to hitting and forechecking,’’ Beleskey told the Globe. “You know it’s a big part of my game. That’s what I’m focusing on, just getting my shots.’’

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  • Admittedly not an elite offensive talent, he gets by more on sheer hard work to go with a nose for finding the net and a rugged style that belies his underwhelming NHL size at 6’0, 200 lbs. He however had a knack for scoring big goals last year, as well as picking his team up when they needed it, whether it be through a hit, fight or simple hustle. “I never got by by skill,” Beleskey, 27, said on last month. “That’s a thing that I can’t take a night off because it’s noticeable when I take a night off because I’m not hitting, I’m not getting on the forecheck, going hard to the net. That’s a game I’ve got to play, it’s hard work and that’s something that I try to pride myself on.”

    Beleskey’s next step is to prove he’s a consistent 20-goal a year scorer and justify the 5-year, $19 million contract he signed with the B’s in July as a free agent. He had a career-high 22 goals for the Ducks last season, and added eight in the playoffs but he had never potted more than 11 in the regular season before that. “I’ve always thought of myself as a 20-goal scorer. I know I can score goals,” he said. “It’s just having that confidence, sticking with it, doing the right things, get in the right spots. Last year it paid off and I’m going to try and keep doing the same things to make it happen again.”

    The Bruins are hoping the growth and maturity he showed in Anaheim will translate to continued progression and scoring consistency in Boston. “(Anaheim) Coach (Bruce) Boudreau gave me a lot of good opportunities, [I] played with some great players and worked hard,” Beleskey said. “I worked hard to get where I was and get into those situations, be in the shape I was, keep myself healthy. That’s something I find if you’re doing the right things and working in the right directions, good things will start happening for you.”

    Beleskey got back to work tonight.

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