DeBrusk was on pace for 36 goals during the 2022-23 season.
In the immediate aftermath of the Boston Bruins’ comeback win over the Penguins in the 2023 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, coach Jim Montgomery heaped praise on Jake DeBrusk.
Such adulation was to be expected, as the Bruins wing ignited Boston’s rally Monday night with a pair of third-period scores.
But beyond DeBrusk’s nose for the net and his tangible production against Pittsburgh, Montgomery praised the 26-year-old winger for his ability to fight through painful shifts and against adversity.
“He’s a lot tougher than people think,” Montgomery said of DeBrusk. “And he is more committed than people realize.”
Given the reported damage DeBrusk suffered during Monday’s win, Montgomery’s comments certainly seem to be vindicated.
DeBrusk might have finished the game, but the B’s top six forward reportedly broke a fibula during the win, by Frank Seravalli of DailyFaceoff. While the extent of the fracture is not yet known, the injury is expected to sideline DeBrusk for at least the next few weeks, if not longer.
DeBrusk did not travel with the Bruins during their current swing to the West Coast, with David Pastrnak filling in for DeBrusk on Boston’s top line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand during Wednesday’s practice.
DeBrusk was fouled in the third period of Monday’s game when a Matt Grzelcyk shot ricocheted off his leg — sending him crashing to the frozen sheet at Fenway.
But after getting back on his skates, DeBrusk drilled a puck into the Penguins’ net for his first of two scores in the period just seconds later, capping 17:31 of ice time in the win.
DeBrusk was spotted with a walking boot on his left leg during his postgame media availability at Fenway.
“I didn’t know that he was actually hurt,” Montgomery said of DeBrusk after Boston’s practice in California on Wednesday. “I saw him twitch when he took the shot, but then he just scored after that. So, no, I used him in the last minute of the play—I tried to get him his empty-net hat trick. So I didn’t have any problems or think that there was anything possibly wrong with him.”
The Bruins have been buoyed all season by an abundance of secondary scoring, but losing DeBrusk for a significant amount of time is still a major setback in Boston’s top-six unit.
A perfect compliment alongside Bergeron and Marchand, thanks to his straight-line speed and forecheck ability, DeBrusk has been in the midst of a career season for Boston — with the wing on pace for 36 goals this year after his two-pointer at the Winter Classic.
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