Jake DeBrusk’s likely final days as a member of the Boston Bruins isn’t quite worthy of Hollywood-ending territory. But he’s making the most of his supporting role ever since his trade request became public.
Skating on the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron for the third straight game on Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings, DeBrusk quickly put the Bruins ahead a mere 1:01 as a relatively routine shot found its way past Jonathan Quick.
The fifth-year Bruin added a tally at 13:37 of the opening stanza and completed his first career hat trick 53 ticks into the middle 20.
DeBrusk extended his point streak to five straight games following his natural hat trick. That was only the beginning of the offensive onslaught.
The Bruins chased Quick after extending their lead to 5-0 on Patrice Bergeron’s power-play tip and Taylor Hall’s marker 1:02 apart. Erik Haula added a pair of tallies in the third period for carer goals No. 100 and 101, while Jeremy Swayman earned his third shutout of the season with a 34-save outing.
Bruce Cassidy’s squad simultaneously extended their win streak to five straight and ended L.A.’s run of five consecutive victories with an impressive 7-0 triumph at Crypto.com Arena.
Here’s what we learned after the Bruins start a perfect 3-for-3 on their six-game road trip.
DeBrusk’s stock rises again.
Skating with two Hall of Fame-bound forwards will benefit any player. Indeed, DeBrusk took advantage of that initial top-line opportunity.
Marchand and Bergeron weren’t on the ice during DeBrusk’s two-goal outing in Seattle. Haula changed with Bergeron during DeBrusk’s assist on Marchand’s first of two goals during Boston’s 3-1 win in San Jose two nights later.
Monday marked the first time Bergeron, DeBrusk and Marchand were on the ice together. It didn’t take long for the trio to earn that collective plus-one rating, either, with DeBrusk notching his first of the night on a fortunate bounce just 61 ticks in.
DeBrusk earned his break after gaining entry on a coast-to-coast rush, with Quick struggling to corral the routine shot. The 2015 first-round selection capitalized on an L.A. turnover for his second of the night and batted the puck out of mid-air — just below the cross-bar — to complete his first career three-goal outing.
“It was nice that it happened early in the game. As soon as you get two, you want to get the third,” DeBrusk told the press following his four-point night. “I was lucky enough to get [the hat trick] and help the team.”
His string of efforts before Marchand’s return from a six-game suspension allowed Cassidy to move DeBrusk to his off-wing in the biggest opportunity of the 25-year-old’s career. DeBrusk made the most of his chance through three games, prompting his trade stock to rise significantly.
Boston’s power play got back on track
A usually potent man-advantage was anything but that for the Bruins over the last several tilts.
The Bruins entered Monday carrying an 0-for-19 drought on the power play. They extended that skid to 20 after failing to convert on their first attempt of the evening following Blake Lizzotte’s tripping minor with 1:44 remaining in the first period.
With the Bruins firmly in the driver’s seat following DeBrusk’s hat trick, Patrice Bergeron finally got the power play back on track late in the second, tipping David Pastrnak’s blast past Quick to extend Boston’s lead to 4-0.
The secondary power-play unit checked in on Boston’s third and final power play attempt. Haula converted his 100th career goal on a stellar feed from Charlie Coyle for a tap-in attempt on the doorstep; Craig Smith also assisting. Coyle and Smith each notched their 200th career assist during the sequence.
The Bruins saw a significant 5v5 scoring uptick during their five-game win streak. But they recently struggled to generate quality power play looks outside of setting up Pastrnak for a one-timer. They notched both goals via deflections against the Kings, thus expanding their scoring means with the man-advantage.
Swayman continued his recent tear
In less than a year, Swayman went from a promising prospect showcasing his traits at the AHL ranks to potentially solidifying the No. 1 spot in Boston.
Swayman didn’t have the best return to the crease after allowing three goals on 23 shots against the Penguins in his first start of the post-Tuukka Rask era. Cassidy publicly directed constructive critiques toward Swayman after one of the roughest outings of his young career.
The Alaskan-born netminder hasn’t looked back in the six starts, producing a 5-0-1 record, a pair of shutouts and an otherworldly .971 save percentage.
The Bruins didn’t need a spectacular outing from Swayman on Monday. The Kings hardly generated quality scoring chances, with most of their 34 shots on net coming in garbage time. Nonetheless, he gave his team a timely save or two whenever Boston’s defense encountered a rare breakdown.
Barring any unusual developments, Swayman will receive a breather with Linus Ullmark scheduled to start in Boston’s second half of a back-to-back Tuesday night in Anaheim.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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