The former seventh-round pick was coming off a productive season in Nashville and had 94 career goals. While his tenure in Boston has gotten off to an uneven start, he has played his best hockey of late.
In the Bruins last two games, the 30-year-old has two assists. He has been aggressive in the offensive zone and landed five shots on net in that span. Although the 2009 draftee’s last goal came on Nov. 13, he has added to his highlight reel over the weekend.
Skating alongside Charlie Coyle on Saturday night, his creativity was on full display. With the Bruins trailing Tampa Bay 2-0, Haula passed the puck between his legs to Coyle, who made it a one-goal game. The Bruins first goal of the night sparked the offense and left fans in awe. Although Tampa Bay won in overtime, Haula continued to stand out.
Haula’s recent play may be an indication of an improvement in his performance
Through 20 games this season, Haula has one goal and four assists. The Finnish native has been productive in the faceoff circle, with a 53.04 winning percentage. He has made a difference at both ends of the ice despite not lighting up the stat sheet.
As the Bruins have gotten off to a 12-8-1 start, Haula has landed 39 hits. He has also blocked nine shots while averaging 14:38 minutes of ice time a game. On a Bruins team that has struggled to get consistent secondary scoring, the former 182nd overall pick is starting to turn his season around.
After he was a healthy scratch on November 28th, Haula has points in back-to-back games for the first time this season. The Bruins’ coaching staff has rewarded his play in the last two games; he has played 49 shifts. With key pieces such as Brad Marchand out of the lineup, Haula stepped up.
“Yes, I think it was warranted in the sense where I wasn’t where I needed to be,” said Haula. I wasn’t playing the way the team needs me to play. I took it as ‘let’s reset, start over, find my game and let it look like it’s supposed to.'”
As the Bruins look to climb in the standings, they will need increased production from their bottom-two forward groups. Part of their success will rely on Haula, who, after a reset, has been a bright spot. While the season is far from over, Haula is starting to play up to expectations.