Matthew Poitras stars again as Bruins defeat Blackhawks, 3-0

Poitras has a 3-1—4 line in six NHL games. Ineligible to be sent to the AHL, if he plays a 10th game — potentially next Thurs vs. the Leafs at the Garden — the first year of his entry level contract would be “burned,” ostensibly sealing his spot in Boston for the season.

“He’s made the most of his opportunity,” said a smiling club president Cam Neely after the game. “He’s making a hard decision pretty easy.”

Neely, however, was not prepared to say Poitras had landed a permanent stay.

“He’s making it hard on us, isn’t he?” said coach Jim Montgomery. “He’s doing a terrific job.”

The three-goal margin, the largest this season for the Bruins, increased their goal differential to +12 through six games.

Poitras scored his goal by first taking control of a Morgan Geekie pass, then barreling down the ice with veteran Corey Perry and defenseman Wyatt Kaiser in pursuit. He raced to goalie Petr Mrazek’s doorstep and calmly finished off with a forehand slide under Mrazek’s glove hand.

The win was somewhat marred minutes later. With 9:16 gone in the third, Bruins forward Jakub Lauko rushed to the room after getting cut near his left eye by Jason Dickinson’s skate blade. Clutching a towel firmly to his face, with blood evident, he rushed to the room for urgent care and did not return.

“Lauko’s good, thankfully,” said Montgomery. “Scary, but he got it in the corner of the eye — nothing touched [the eyeball]. Stitched . . . he’s not going to look good for a while.”

According to one team member, the skate gashed Lauko high across the bridge of his nose. Lauko, still clutching a towel hard to his face some 30 minutes after the game, made his way to the team bus and was not available to the media.

It’s not known if Lauko will play Thursday vs. Anaheim at the Garden. Cuts around the eye often cause considerable swelling, which could impair his line of sight.

The Hawks appeared to have the lone goal in the first period, a one-time snipe by rookie sensation Connor Bedard, only to see it taken off the board when the Bruins called for an offside review. Sure enough, the tape proved Andreas Athanasiou muffed the puck as he carried over the blue line, leading the ex-Red Wings forward to cross ahead of it.

What would have been Bedard’s third career goal was pulled off the board and the clock reset to show 7:06 remaining in the period.

No one had to be happier than Charlie Coyle, whose ill-advised pass into the slot, while under no pressure, teed up Bedard for a sizzling slapper that went by Swayman’s glove hand.

The lone goal in the first two periods that stuck belonged to center Pavel Zacha, his first strike of the season.

Positioned low in the slot, Zacha provided a tip to a Kevin Shattenkirk wrister that the ex-BU backliner sailed in from just inside the blue line, above the right-wing circle, with 3:50 gone in the second period.

Still seeing his lines come together, and their offense build, Jim Montgomery returned with the same four groupings he cobbled together for Sunday’s 3-1 win at Anaheim.

“I didn’t love our lines the last game, but we’ll go back to it just because I’d like to get the chemistry going,” he said following the traditional morning workout here.

The lines, top to bottom, were centered by Zacha, Coyle, Poitras, and Johnny Beecher. Successful, productive offenses almost always are driven by the centers, and ultimately the overall production for the B’s this season very well could be determined by that foursome. Unless management trades for better options.

Zacha initially paired with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, leaving Coyle to pivot van Riemsdyk and Frederic to fill out the top six.

The bottom six had Poitras, who had two goals in Anaheim, between Jake DeBrusk and newcomer Geekie, and Beecher setting up Lauko and ex-BC Eagle Patrick Brown.

Montgomery, not pleased with a 12-shot output in the first period, shook up his lines to start the second. Poitras moved up to center the top line with Marchand and Pastrnak. Zacha scored his goal with DeBrusk (assist) and Geekie his wingers. The other two trio remained status quo.

The shuffle helped the Bruins win the shot battle, 43-23.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at [email protected].


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