Bruins notebook: Making his NHL debut on second line, Peter Cehlarik looks the part
Peter Cehlarik did not pick up a point in his NHL debut yesterday, but he did not look out of place the least bit.
Cehlarik was strong at both ends of the ice, winning battles along the wall in the defensive zone and showing some good vision in the offensive zone. Skating on the second line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak, Cehlarik made a beautiful first-period pass to Pastrnak, who then walked in alone on Canucks goalie Ryan Miller but was thwarted.
“I liked his game,” coach Bruce Cassidy said after his team’s 4-3 win. “He complemented that line, good board work. I thought he got on top of pucks, made some plays, a couple of pucks found him in the slot. There were some nerves there as well and as he gets comfortable, he should only get better. I thought he did a nice job for us.”
Cehlarik, who finished plus-1 in 13:50 of ice time, thought he fought off the butterflies pretty well.
“I tried to stay calm and not just throw the puck away, be patient with the puck,” he said. “Especially with those players I played with, they’re great players offensively and I tried to fit in.”
The 21-year-old Slovakian, a 6-foot-2, 202-pound third-round pick in 2013, is having a strong first North American season. Posting 18 goals and 15 assists in 40 games with AHL Providence, he finally got the call when Austin Czarnik went on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Cehlarik was scratched on Thursday before going in yesterday.
“It’s good to see the game from the stands, just to watch the positioning that the players have. They’re smart players,” he said. “It’s not just up-and-down hockey. You have to get in good position on the ice and do the right things.”
Cehlarik earned kudos from the veteran Krejci.
“I thought he handled himself well,” he said. “He was making some nice plays out there. It was fun playing with him, so he’s going to get better with games. We were close a lot (on scoring chances) so hopefully we can build on it and be even better offensively.”
Krejci seems energized since being paired with Pastrnak on Thursday, then having Cehlarik added yesterday.
“I was playing with the puck a little more and that always helps because that’s the kind of player I am,” Krejci said. “I’m at my best when I play with the puck and I feel like the last couple of games I had the puck on my stick a lot and creating scoring chances, so I’m just making the most of it and I’m happy the team is winning.”
Third stands tall
The third line of Frank Vatrano, Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes was a plus-2 and a concern for Vancouver. Spooner set up Kevan Miller off the rush to tie the game in the first period. In the third, Vatrano did a good job of keeping the puck and throwing it to open space along the right wall for Hayes to chase it down. Once Hayes got it, he dropped it for Colin Miller to blast past Ryan Miller to give the B’s a 3-2 lead.
Hayes, a healthy scratch 15 times this year, appears to have a second chance under Cassidy.
“It’s just an opportunity, and you have to continue to thrive with it,” Hayes said. “You’ve got to find a way to be effective playing with two guys who are high offensive threats, and you’ve got to find a way to find some chemistry.”
Cehlarik got into the lineup at the expense of Matt Beleskey, who has just two assists in the eight games since coming back from a knee injury that kept him out seven weeks. Cassidy does not think he’s fully healthy.
“That’s part of it,” the coach said. “It’s not punishment. With his injury, we’ve got to get him back up to playing speed, playing pace.” . . .
The B’s were 1-for-2 on the power play, giving them at least one extra-man goal in seven straight games and making them 19-for-56 (33.9 percent) in their last 16. They were outshot 32-30, the first time in 17 games that’s happened. .?.?.
Pastrnak’s game-winner was his 100th NHL point.