The NHL Trade Deadline was the rearview mirror when the San Jose Sharks arrived at TD Garden Tuesday night. Boston’s newest arrivals, Charlie Coyle (formerly of the Minnesota Wild) and Marcus Johansson (acquired from New Jersey at the 11th hour on Monday) wasted little time to make themselves comfortable in their Causeway Street debuts.
And the revamped Bruins dismantled one of the Western Conference’s elite teams with ease.
“You know, you come out of the trade deadline, every team’s in a different spot,” Bruce Cassidy said following the 4-1 victory. “For us, I think we added a couple bodies up front, accomplished players in the league. So yes, I think our guys were excited to have everyone on the ice.
Johansson picked up his first point as a Bruin with a secondary assist on Jake DeBrusk’s 20th goal of the season. But the duo of newcomers found ways to make an impact outside of the scoresheet.
Coyle and Johansson played their respective roles to a T in the middle of the lineup. Cassidy didn’t have to mix and match line combinations at all. Their depth pummeled San Jose all night as all four lines displayed a potent combination of speed and skill.
“We look like we had our legs all night,” Cassidy added. “A product of, like I said, probably a bit of the new blood and just the way we’ve been playing lately. I think we’re real accountable to ourselves coming out of the gate, and it’s allowed us to gain every game.”
Their 5-on-5 play wasn’t the only significant upgrade. Coyle and Johansson also found themselves on the second power play unit with Danton Heinen and David Backes up front and Charlie McAvoy manning the point.
Boston’s new look secondary power play didn’t score, but Cassidy liked what he saw. They had quality scoring chances against Martin Jones and company and threatened to score on a few occasions, thus keeping the pressure on a San Jose squad making the final stop of its four-game road trip.
Coyle, in particular, got to realize his dream of playing for his hometown team. The Weymouth-born forward and former Boston University standout dreamt of stepping onto the Garden ice ever since he attended games as a kid.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound center finished didn’t tally a point in 17:14 of ice time, but still garnered quality scoring chances with his aggressive puck pursuit.
Coyle has come a long way ever since getting Patrice Bergeron’s autograph as a youngster. He impressed the hometown crowd in his first Causeway Street tilt in black and gold. He even participated in the ceremonial puck drop honoring fallen Weymouth police officer Michael Chensa.
“Yeah Zee [Zdeno Chara], he knew they were from Weymouth so he said ‘you should go take it.'” Coyle said. “That was pretty classy by him and it was a great honor to do that so hats off to Zee for that.”
Their first game in Boston was a success, but the challenges remain. Johansson, Coyle and the rest of the Bruins welcome the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night at TD Garden (7:30 puck drop). They’ll all need to bring their ‘A’ game against the Cup favorites.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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