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Fluto Shinzawa | On hockey

Bruins’ Matt Beleskey finally came to play

Bruins forward Matt Beleskey (39) provides a net-front presence in front of Sabres goalie Robin Lehner. jim davis/globe staff/Globe Staff

On Monday against Buffalo, Matt Beleskey played his best game of the season.

This is not saying much. The left wing entered TD Garden with zeroes in every category except healthy scratch. In the latter, Beleskey has one game off the ice: a deserved visit to the Amalie Arena press box in Tampa Bay last Thursday.

“I don’t want to say it helped me,” Beleskey said with a smile of an uncomfortable night in suit and tie. “I don’t want to get scratched again. That’s not what you want. But like I said, it’s a reset. It’s a time to think about the game, look at it, come back at it with an open mind. The coaches have been helping me work through it. That’s all you can do — work hard and hopefully get some bounces like I did tonight.”

The stat sheet was kinder to Beleskey in the 4-0 win over Buffalo. The No. 3 left wing recorded his first point of 2016-17 when he assisted on Brad Marchand’s power-play goal at 5:44 of the second period. One replay appeared to show Riley Nash’s long-distance shot thud off Beleskey’s skate before slipping behind Robin Lehner at 14:41 of the second. Video review gave that goal to Nash, but had it been Beleskey’s, the left wing could have logged a Gordie Howe hat trick following his third-period scrap with Derek Grant.

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“He definitely was in the right place tonight,” said coach Claude Julien. “He seems like a more determined player right now. Sometimes you need to sit out and miss the game a little bit or whatever to really spark things. That’s why we do those things. I said it right from the get-go that I’m not punishing him. I’m trying to get him going. Whether it’s that, whether it’s something else, at the end of the day, he’s a better player lately.”

In 15:52 of ice time, Beleskey had one assist, two shots on net, and three thumps to accompany his square-off with Grant after he took exception to the Buffalo forward’s net-front dumping of Marchand. The fight was proof of Beleskey’s emotional engagement, physicality, and willingness to be in the trenches with his boots on and gloves off.

Beleskey, after all, is not a perimeter player. The Bruins didn’t sign him to a five-year, $19 million contract to play on the fringes. Beleskey was part of the replacement package for Milan Lucic because, like the Bruins’ former No. 1 left wing, he is at his best when his nose is dirty and knuckles nicked up.

In the second period, Beleskey staked his claim to the front of the net on the No. 2 power-play unit. By occupying the hard-hat area, Beleskey set a screen on Lehner on Pastrnak’s one-timer from the left circle. Lehner got a piece of Pastrnak’s sizzler, but Beleskey helped to dig out the rebound and get the puck onto Marchand’s stick. Marchand’s snapper bonked off Lehner’s mask and off the knob of his stick before settling behind the goal line, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead and Beleskey his first helper.

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Later in the second, Beleskey’s heat on the forecheck forced Dmitry Kulikov to reverse the puck behind the goal line instead of moving it out of the zone. Cody Franson couldn’t settle Kulikov’s reverse. Nash found the puck on the wall, waited for Beleskey to circle back and head toward the net, then fired a shot on goal. Even if Beleskey didn’t get a piece of the puck, his net-front engagement with Kulikov caused the bounce to go the Bruins’ way.

“Skee had an awesome game tonight,” Nash said. “He was one of our best players. If he got it, I got it, it didn’t really matter. We were just trying to do the right thing, get to the net.

“He did a heck of a job doing that tonight. He said he didn’t feel it. It sure looked like on one replay it hit him. On the other one, it looked like it hit the D-man. We’ve got people upstairs that figure that stuff out.”

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It’s been a good return for Beleskey following his one-game sitdown. He landed four shots in 17:56 against the Rangers on Saturday. He was back at it against the Sabres. It’s finally given the Bruins some complementary left-side presence behind Marchand.

“I think it’s a mind-set,” Beleskey said of the uptick in his play. “A slump, sometimes it takes something to change it. I think I’ve still been working the same amount, still working hard. It’s just maybe working a little smarter.”

Of all the Bruins’ hiccups through their first 13 games, the blanks shot by the second and third lines may be the team’s biggest shortcoming.

Every game, Julien has known the first line will produce and the fourth line will bang. In contrast, Julien hasn’t had any idea what to expect from forwards 4 through 9 on his depth chart. It’s been more valleys than peaks, which is why Beleskey was told he was not needed for one game and fellow third-liner Jimmy Hayes has not been seen for the last two.

The Bruins don’t need quiet hockey from Beleskey. They require clamor, disruption, and nastiness from their No. 3 left wing. On Monday, Beleskey brought the noise.

NOTES: Another start for Tuukka Rask

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.