The first game after the trade deadline is one where everyone is watching the new guys like they are specimens under a microscope. But it is also sometimes an adjustment for the players themselves, especially if the team they are coming to focuses on a different system, such as defensive as opposed to offensive. For Charlie Coyle, while it was his second game wearing the Spoked-B, it was his first game in Boston on home ice. And for Marcus Johansson, it had been a lively 24 hours.
Coyle had the added opportunity of representing the Bruins for a ceremonial puck drop, when the wife and two children of slain Weymouth police officer Michael Chesna dropped the puck. Originally Zdeno Chara was called to take the face off opposite the San Jose Sharks’ captain, Joe Pavelski, but Chara felt it was fitting for Weymouth-native Coyle to do the honors.
It was an honor to have the family of fallen Weymouth police officer Michael Chesna participate in tonight's ceremonial puck drop on First Responders Night. pic.twitter.com/0MXAeCMpmn
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 27, 2019
“Yeah [Zdeno Chara], he knew they were from Weymouth so he said ‘you should go take it.’ That was pretty classy by him and it was a great honor to do that so hats off to [Chara] for that,” said Coyle.
“I think I found out a lot tonight. I think he’s an unbelievable hockey player. He works hard, and he made a lot of good plays out there and just really simple to play with. It was really fun to play with him and I think he’s, like I said, an unbelievable hockey player and I think he’s just gonna keep getting better,” Johansson said.
Additionally, with DeBrusk getting a goal—and losing a chiclet earlier in the game—on which Johansson and Krejci earned the assists, it shows how quickly these three have managed to come together and very possibly what can be expected going forward. Before the Bruins overtime loss against St. Louis this past Saturday, DeBrusk had a five-game scoring streak going. And it looks like he’s determined not to let things get cold. With his goal in Tuesday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks, DeBrusk has reached 20 goals on the season joining Patrice Bergeron (21) , Brad Marchand (25) and currently injured David Pastrnak (31) in having 20+ goals on the season. His previous NHL season, as a rookie, DeBrusk notched 16 goals.
“Yeah it’s a good feeling obviously. It comes in a win, so that’s nice. You set goals before the year and I think you guys asked me before day one if I thought I was going to score 20, well I got 20,” DeBrusk shared.
DeBrusk also recognized the upgrade his line received with the addition of Johansson, and how the chemistry of the three of them came together so quickly.
“Yeah just shot-ready kind of everywhere. Obviously looking to make plays but it’s something that is good, it’s something that is nice but obviously right now pucks are going in for me. There were a couple plays that we just missed on too as well where I could benefit from that, so I’m just trying to get my feet moving and trying to get some pucks for them and just trying to play my style,” he said.
While Coyle didn’t notch a point as a Bruin, he had a very different line, slotting in as center on the third line with David Backes and Joakim Nordstrom. However, he saw some time on the power play and was an impressive 64% in the faceoff circle, winning seven of eleven draws. In the meantime, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t worried about what he saw from Coyle Tuesday night and looks to see more out of him and his line mates in the coming games.
“I think they were more of a cycle line. They kept more pucks alive, were able to generate a little more. [Nordstrom’s] more of a check, speed guy, a little bit still searching for his game. But I thought they were good. You know, they’re going to provide offense. I’m not worried about that with Charlie. He was in all alone the one time, and they’ll get their looks. Obviously, not as many as in St. Louis, but I thought they were fine for us,” Cassidy said after the game.
For Coyle, this was certainly a homecoming. Not only did he grow up in Weymouth, but he spent some time playing at Boston University before he elected to go north and take the Major Juniors’ route to the NHL.
“There were a few signs out there and just pretty cool to be on that side of it. A lot of excitement building up and I just tried to stay calm and treat it as another game,” he described.
Like Johansson, Coyle has a healthy respect for his new team and how they continued to play despite going down 1-0 to the Sharks in the first period.
“A lot of character. You know even when things aren’t going your way, they jump out early and you come back and nothing fazes you. We did a good job of just playing our game. No matter what if things weren’t going our way, we didn’t get the first one, it doesn’t matter, we just keep plugging away and keep working and play simple and it eventually comes. A lot of nice plays out there and it starts with battling and working hard and that pays off,” Coyle shared.
In the end the Bruins took the 4-1 win over San Jose. Both newcomers to the Black and Gold will have some quality practice on Wednesday and Thursday and will be back at it with the rest of the Bruins when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.