fb-pixel Skip to main content
BRUINS NOTEBOOK

Charlie Coyle remains in offensive slump

Charlie Coyle didn’t land a shot against the Devils, defenseman Andy Greene making sure of it on this play.Julio Cortez/Associated Press/Associated Press

NEWARK — Charlie Coyle’s offense has been on a slow-drip brew (1-1—2 in 12 games) since arriving from the Wild at the February trade deadline. But the former BU forward landed seven shots on net in Tuesday’s 5-0 pasting of the Islanders, perhaps an indication that he’ll start to provide some of the offensive pop the Bruins hoped for when they acquired him for Ryan Donato.

Coyle was blanked again in the Bruins’ 5-1 win over the Devils on Thursday night. The Bruins landed 27 of the 58 attempted shots. Coyle skated 17:56 and did not attempt a shot. Charlie McAvoy was the only other Bruins not to attempt a shot on net.

Advertisement



Brought in ostensibly as a center to anchor the third line, Coyle of late has moved to David Krejci’s right wing on the second line, and started there again here Tuesday night against the Devils.

“If you present yourself, it’s usually going to be on your stick,” said Coyle, noting Krejci’s past first preference as a pivot. “I just tried to find those open spots, open areas, and tried to release it as soon as I could. He and Jake [DeBrusk] found me numerous times and those opportunities are good. As long as you get those opportunities, it’s going to drop for you.”

Coyle, 27, and with 491 games on his résumé, needed eight games before picking up his first assist as a Bruin and two more before logging his first goal. His seven shots on net reflected a significant change in his approach, considering he had totaled but 19 shots over his first 11 games.

During his Wild days, when he toggled between center and wing, Coyle sometimes rode with center Mikko Koivu, another center with a Krejci-like pass-first philosophy.

“I didn’t play with him a whole lot the last couple [of years],” noted Coyle. “But early on in my career I was with him. Same thing . . . you just keep your stick on the ice because it can be there in a second — through bodies, through sticks, so similar in a way, yeah.”

Advertisement



Coyle was uncertain, but figured seven shots must be a career high for him.

“Probably, yeah, I usually don’t put up seven,” he said “It’s something I have to work on and tell myself to do more often and the puck will fall.”

Kuraly injured

If Sean Kuraly has to miss time, the logical move would be to have Coyle move back to third-line center, which also could move Danton Heinen back to second-line right wing duty. Heinen finally scored here and almost added a second on a tip that hit the post.

Paul Carey is the extra forward on the trip.

Kuraly appeared to injure his right hand when he blocked a shot that led to Heinen’s goal.

Pastrnak trying to find timing

David Pastrnak, who returned Tuesday after a five-week layoff following thumb surgery, looked better and better as the game wore on in Uniondale, N.Y.

He didn’t like his timing on a couple of shot attempts.

“A little more polish with the puck. . . ,” said coach Bruce Cassidy, reflecting on what he hoped to see from Pastrnak in his second game off the injured list, “. . . in terms of off-net shots, in terms of making his plays.”

Pastrnak rolled up 15:51 in ice time in Thursday’s win, only three seconds fewer than Brad Marchand, and landed three shots on net. He also reclaimed the club’s goal-scoring lead at 32, one more than Marchand.

Advertisement



Cassidy noted a drop pass vs. the Isles, intended for Marchand, was uncharacteristically off-target, leaving Marchand with no chance of skating into a good shot attempt. When the line is hot, those wrinkles don’t exist.

“It was a little cross-and-drop and he left it too far out to Marchy’s right,” said Cassidy, noting that Pastrnak was angry with himself upon return returning to the bench after the misplay.

“Those are plays those guys are used to making automatically. Marchy eventually got the puck but wasn’t able to get a shot on net — those are little timing plays with his linemates that I expect we’ll see improve.

“Those little small-area plays will take a few days.”

Rask is rolling right along

Cassidy went with the same lineup that trucked the Islanders, going again in net with Tuukka Rask, who posted his fourth shutout of the season with his 13-save rocking-chair effort out on the Island.

Rask made 21 saves Thursday night to improve his record to 26-10-5 in 42 games, still with a chance to reach the 30-win platueau

Jaroslav Halak, last in net for Saturday’s win over Columbus, will start Saturday night in Sunrise, Fla., and Rask will stand guard for the trip wrapup Monday night in Tampa.

The shutout on the Island was Rask’s second in six starts. He was forced to make only 20 stops in his 1-0 win over the Devils on March 2.

Advertisement



Krug back Monday?

Torey Krug skated here in the morning and remains on the path back from a concussion.

He will skate again Friday and possibly could slot back in Saturday against the Panthers, but a more likely return would be Monday.

Meanwhile, Connor Clifton had another night of varsity work on the backline. He can be a bit overzealous back there at times, but Cassidy is OK with it.

“Sometimes guys come up and they’re a little tentative,” said Cassidy. “And it’s for different reasons. It might be their personalities. It might be they want to defer to the more veteran guys, want to feel their way around. He’s not that guy.

“He’s in there, he’s banging bodies right away, wants to make plays.”

If anything, noted Cassidy, Clifton is player who needs to be coached down rather than coached up.

“I’ve always preferred that,” said the coach, “a kid that wants to come up . . . as long as it’s not reckless. And he has not been reckless.

“I think he might have come out of college (Quinnipiac 2017) a little bit reckless, playing pro, and I think he’s really tempered that — when to go and when not to go and still be aggressive.”

Bergeron maintains his place

Patrice Bergeron, likely a Selke finalist again, took Wednesday as a maintenance day. He had a light skate here in the morning and lined up in his usual spot as pivot on the Marchand- Pastrnak trio (combined 90 goals). Bergeron is a four-time winner of the Selke, awarded to the game’s best defensive forward. Per usual, all awards finalists will be name in the days immediately following the end of the regular season . . . Boston’s new-age Trench Connection Line — Sean Kuraly-Noel Acciari-Chris Wagner — entered the night with 24 goals this season. Last season, Tim Schaller rode LW most of time with Kuraly and Acciari. Kuraly potted a pair in the win on the Island. Cassidy kept Kuraly as the No. 3 center here, with Wagner on his right and Danton Heinen on his left, while Acciari centered the fourth line with Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes. The Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari combo finished with 28 goals in 2017-18. Schaller has been an anemic 2-5—7 in 40 games this season with the Canucks.

Advertisement




Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.