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NEW YORK — Jack Studnicka is amused by the recent attention on his improved physique.

“I haven’t done an interview where that hasn’t been the main focus,” he said before the Bruins’ 3-2 exhibition loss to the Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Yes, the 22-year-old Bruins center did gain some 15 pounds of lean muscle over the summer by trying to consume upward of 4,000 calories a day. He downed plenty of protein shakes and kept up his cardio. The extra bulk helped him in his preseason debut. He scored a goal, put 6 of 8 attempts on net, and didn’t give up much in the physical department.


“I was able to throw my body around more,” Studnicka said. “When I was going through guys’ hands on the backcheck, I felt like I was getting my position good. It’s going to be a work in progress. It’s a little bit of a different game I’m able to play now. I’m just trying to bring an edge.”

Studnicka, still listed at last season’s 6 feet 1 inch and 171 pounds, moved well with the extra weight. He said his other major offseason focus was improving his shot release. That work showed on his second-period goal, which saw the Bruins’ top two forward prospects in concert.

After defenseman Mike Reilly zipped a stretch pass through the neutral zone, Studnicka and Fabian Lysell had Rangers defensemen K’Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba two on two. Studnicka feathered a pass to Lysell, who beat Miller and made a slight fake to draw Trouba and goalie Tyler Wall to his side. Studnicka one-timed the give-and-go centering feed to the far, low corner.

Wall, an ex-UMass Lowell stopper, had lost his stick and was using a teammate’s. But it was a solid finish from Studnicka, and a slippery setup from Lysell.


Other observations from Tuesday’s game:

▪ Lysell, despite a soft backhand turnover in the defensive zone early, was again impressive. He made several creative passes and was the fastest Bruin in the lineup. He does not yet have the strength, he acknowledged, to protect the puck and separate from physical defenders. He is trying to process the game quicker.

Fabian Lysell looks to pass in the third period of Tuesday's preseason game.
Fabian Lysell looks to pass in the third period of Tuesday's preseason game.Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

“As the games have went on, I feel I’ve played better each period,” Lysell said. “It’s definitely a higher level than I’m used to, but I feel I’ve handled it pretty good.

“It’s going to take a while, but I think then it’s going to be pretty good.”

He may go to WHL Vancouver next month and “light it up,” as coach Bruce Cassidy hopes he will, but it’s easy to envision a stronger, older version of Lysell putting up points in a Spoked-B.

“To have the confidence and composure he has out there … I know myself, my first couple preseason games, it’s nerve-racking,” Studnicka said of Lysell.

▪ Urho Vaakanainen atoned for a shaky performance in the preseason opener. In the second period, the 22-year-old Finn charged toward a loose puck and hammered it, tying the game at 2.

Urho Vaakanainen moves New York's Kaapo Kakko from the crease during the second period of Tuesday's preseason contest.
Urho Vaakanainen moves New York's Kaapo Kakko from the crease during the second period of Tuesday's preseason contest.Bruce Bennett/Getty

Vaakanainen took a roughing penalty in the first period and let Kaapo Kakko bat home a bad-bounce goal to make it 2-0. But on the shift after his emphatic goal, he muscled Kakko off the puck.

“I thought against Washington [on Sunday] he slapped pucks around a lot, for a guy that’s played games and has a good idea of what to expect,” Cassidy said. “In general, his ability to get to pucks and make an outlet was better. Usually means he’s engaged in the game.”


▪ Cassidy has higher expectations for the projected varsity fourth line of Trent Frederic, Tomas Nosek, and Curtis Lazar, seen together for the first time in game action. He envisions them as a unit that turns defensive-zone starts into offensive-zone puck-protection. They are still learning each other’s tendencies.

“They can be better. Those guys have been in the league,” Cassidy said. He added that Frederic didn’t move his feet well, a recurring issue. A couple of his chances off the rush were blocked because he was stationary.

Bruce Cassidy talks with his team during a break in the action Tuesday night.
Bruce Cassidy talks with his team during a break in the action Tuesday night.Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

Nosek, making his Bruins preseason debut in a rarely seen sweater number (No. 92), looked like the man who played himself up a rung in the Vegas lineup last season. He has nice stick skills for a fourth-liner and makes heady passes. He landed 7 of 8 shot attempts.

Good news: Nosek took a third-period, knee-on-knee hit from Trouba but stayed on the ice for the ensuing power play.

▪ Artemi Panarin (1-2—3) is ready for opening night. He factored in all three of the Rangers’ goals, putting the Blueshirts up, 3-2, by snapping one past Kyle Keyser’s glove on a breakaway.

Keyser, who stopped 7 of 8 shots, got one back in the final 90 seconds with a glove stop on a breakaway.


Panarin opened the scoring by slipping away from coverage along the boards and whipping a cross-zone, backhand feed to Anthony Bitetto. The job description for lumbering Providence center Joona Koppanen does not include covering wingers making $11.6 million.

▪ Like batterymate Jeremy Swayman on Sunday, Linus Ullmark had a rebound-filled preseason debut, booting several pucks to the slot early. He wasn’t tested much (11 saves on 13 shots). He also made an aggressive, 110-foot outlet pass.

▪ The Bruins’ major pieces have been resting this preseason, but Cassidy expects to dress a few more stars for their home debut on Thursday against Philadelphia.

Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.