BOSTON (AP) — Jake DeBrusk returned after being benched one game for lack of effort and scored his first goal in almost a month, chasing Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev early in the second period and leading the Boston Bruins to a 4-0 victory on Thursday night.
“The reason I played that way tonight is I was pissed off,” said DeBrusk, who watched Tuesday night’s game from the press level as a healthy scratch. “I’m keeping that. It’s not going away.”
David Krejci scored his first goal of the season and Brad Marchand had two assists — one of them after sliding the puck through his own skates to set up Patrice Bergeron’s short-handed goal that gave Boston a 2-0 lead after one. David Pastrnak also scored for Boston, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 28 shots for his second shutout of the year.
The Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak and earned just their fourth victory in 11 games.
Georgiev stopped 10 of the 14 shots he saw before he was pulled five minutes into the second period after allowing back-to-back goals 1:21 apart to Krejci and DeBrusk. Keith Kinkaid came on and stopped all 13 shots the rest of the way for New York, which lost its third in a row.
“I don’t want to point the finger at Georgie, but their chances did go in and ours didn’t,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “I don’t want to point the finger at one person; this wasn’t on one person.”
DeBrusk, who had 16 goals as a rookie in 2017-18 and 27 the next year, had just one score and four assists in 17 games before coach Bruce Cassidy sat him for Tuesday’s game against the Islanders. Asked why, the coach didn’t hold back, saying, “We just feel we’re not getting the effort required.”
“I liked what I saw tonight,” Cassidy said Thursday. “I’m happy that he scored — him and Krech both. They’ve been a little snakebit. Should be good for their confidence.”
DeBrusk scored for the first time since Feb. 18, converting a crossing pass from Krejci to make it 4-0 and chase Georgiev. The 24-year-old forward also had two hits and blocked a shot in 15:48 of ice time.
“I’m a pretty easy target at the moment. I understand the territory. It’s pretty much warranted. So yeah, I took that personally. Who wouldn’t?” said DeBrusk, who cut his hair short and changed sticks for his return.
“It worked,” he said. “I just needed to look a little younger. Feels like everyone thought I was done.”
Pastrnak gave Boston a 1-0 lead with four minutes gone in the game when he one-timed a pass from Marchand past Georgiev from the blue line. With Nick Ritchie off for tripping, Marchand skated into the zone, slid the puck into his skates to elude a defender and then backhanded it to Bergeron in the slot.
The teams meet again in Boston on Saturday.
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