It’s safe to say that the 2021 NHL season was one that was a disappointment for Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk. From start to finish, he was never able to get going offensively the way that coach Bruce Cassidy and his teammates would have hoped.
How bad were things this season? Well, on two different occasions, he was a healthy scratch by Cassidy to send a message to the 24-year-old left wing. In three seasons prior t this one, the Edmonton, Alberta native scored 62 goals and had a 20-goal season in 2018-19.
Things were different this season for the 14th overall selection in the first round of the 2015 Entry Draft after signing a two-year bridge deal last November. He finished with just five goals and nine assists this season in 41 regular-season games. Saturday night in Game 1 in the first round of the East Division playoffs against the Washington Capitals, it was a different looking DeBrusk, as well as a different looking line for the Black and Gold in their 3-2 overtime loss.
DeBrusk line played well for the Bruins in Game 1.
DeBrusk scored Boston’s first goal at 13:10 of the first period, which injured Capitals starting goalie Vitek Vanecek who suffered a lower-body injury trying to make the save and was forced to leave the game. It was also DeBrusk’s 15th career postseason goal.
It was DeBrusk’s lone shot on the net, but Lazar won the faceoff in the offensive zone to set up DeBrusk’s lamplighter. Lazar was spectacular at the dot, winning 6-of-8 draws. Wagner went toe-to-toe with the Caps physically with a team-high eight hits in just under 12 minutes of ice-time.
All night, the line brought energy, a physical presence, and even the Bruins’ first goal of the game. Unfortunately, the other lines did not follow suit.
Being physical, solid on the forecheck, and doing a lot of the dirty work is what you can expect from your bottom-six forwards. Boston got that from their DeBrusk-Lazar-Wagner line in Game 1 and hopefully in the following games as the series goes along.