Bjork tallied his second goal of the season while Senyshyn notched a pair of assists. He should’ve had another after the officials somehow overturned Coyle’s third-period go-ahead goal, but we don’t need to go into further details on the head-scratching offside challenge.
But has Bruce Cassidy found more secondary scoring options with this highly-skilled line? One game is a small sample size, but the appreciated the efforts from the Bjork-Senyshyn duo up in Montreal.
“I thought he handled it very well. He gave us about 11 solid minutes — he was on the puck,” Cassidy told reporters about Senyshyn’s season debut with Boston on Tuesday. “Him and Bjork did a real good job getting on pucks, turning pucks over to give us a chance to get on the attack. Drew a penalty by going to the net, getting inside is something we’ve asked him to do using his speed and body position, that was a great example of that. He freed up a few pucks on the forecheck, got a couple of assists.
“It was incredible. He had a lot to do with a couple of those goals by getting to the puck first. Win your races, be accountable defensively, and for them because they had the puck a little more, [they] were playing smart with it and didn’t have to worry about defense a whole lot. Most of their game was spent pursuing pucks, and it showed. Bjork had a lot of attacks on the net and they were a good line. They got a goal taken off the board and they were that much better. So, I thought he handled it very well.”
Coyle often skated with power forwards like Brett Ritchie or David Backes this season. Neither bruising vet fit Coyle’s style of play as the former Boston University standout struggled to produce offensively during the first weeks of the season.
Bjork’s skillset meshed well with Coyle as the two started to produce on the scoresheet. Adding Senyshyn to that mix will only improve Boston’s third line situation.
Yet, as Coyle started lighting the lump, Bjork struggled a bit leading up to Tuesday’s tilt in Montreal. That changed Tuesday with his second goal of the season.
“I thought he tailed off a little recently. So, we had a chat with him,” Cassidy said about Bjork’s recent efforts.
“You’re not going to be great every night, it’s A and B games. We talk about that all the time, A and B games. It’s not coming, pucks not falling and you’re an offensive guy, then your B game is a good checking game and it’s a good forecheck game. It’s whatever other things you can do. I didn’t think he’s had his legs under him as much the last few games, [but] he found it the other night and got rewarded.”
The makeshift third line of Bjork, Coyle and Senyshyn were on the ice for two goals — including one from Connor Clifton — and led in shot attempts, 10-3. They also didn’t give up a goal in any of their shifts.
Cassidy kept the trio intact after the team recalled Senyshyn — sent down to Providence on Wednesday as a “paper transaction” and Peter Cehlarik from the AHL on Thursday. The 2015 first-round selection will be back with Coyle and Bjork for Friday’s matchup with the Detroit Red Wings.
Yet, this trio might not last long. The plethora of early-season injuries up front forced GM Don Sweeney to look at his options from Providence. So while Coyle may be enjoying Bjork and Senyshyn’s company, he may very well see new linemates again once some of the injured forwards heal up.
Bjork continues to take strides in his third season, so the former Notre Dame standout may stay in Boston for the long haul. This likely leaves Senyshyn as the odd man out despite tallying a goal and a pair of assists in his first two career NHL games.
Senyshyn didn’t get out to a great start in Providence, yet things came together in his career Bruins-Habs tilt.
Could he be turning a corner?
“It definitely gives you a little bit of confidence,” Senyshyn told the press following Thursday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “But, more just looking at the other parts of my game and again, kind of advancing pucks, having a good stick and kind of doing those little details. Again, I’m certainly just trying to help the team win. It’s not necessarily your points [that matter]. I had a very slow start to my year in Providence, and sometimes it’s not the fact you’re getting points or not, sometimes it’s just puck luck.”
Senyshyn provided a spark Tuesday night. Looking to build off that effort, the rookie winger gathered some important pointers from Cassidy before the team took off for Detroit on Thursday.
“He gave me some things to work on for Detroit and some stuff to really focus on which is good. That’s kind of progress, not perfection and there’s no such thing as a perfect game of hockey,” Senyshyn said regarding his conversation with Cassidy. “I’m just trying to focus on bringing more things to my game and improving each game while I’m up here.”
Some things can come difficult in a new environment. But Senyshyn has some familiarity with some of the Bruins that came through Providence, including Bjork.
Senyshyn and Bjork rarely skated on the same line at the AHL level, but that didn’t stop them from becoming the best trio on the ice Tuesday night.
“Me and Anders have been very close friends,” Senyshyn said. “[We] haven’t really played too much together down in Providence, but it’s definitely always a treat to play with a guy with that much speed and skill. It’s awesome to kind of have a friend on the bench too.”
With any luck, Coyle, Senyshyn and Bjork will continue to form chemistry over the weekend — thus solidifying their place in the B’s lineup.
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