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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
17 Feb 2024
Steve Conroy

NextImg:Bruins notebook: Anthony Richard makes case for sticking around

Silver linings are hard to find when the you lose 5-4 in overtime in the manner in which the Bruins did on Saturday.

But when you’re a guy like Anthony Richard trying to keep your dream of playing the NHL alive at the age of 27 after playing most of your career in the American Hockey League, you’ll grab on to anything positive and cling to it for dear life.

Richard had seen some icetime on the third line in the previous two games, but coach Jim Montgomery shuffled his bottom six, dropping him to the fourth line on Saturday. It led to Richard’s first goal as a Bruin.

“It was exciting,” said Richard of his second period strike. “I scored three goals (with Montreal last season) but they were all on the road. Scoring at home is always more special, especially here. The crowd is pretty good when we score goals. They get us going and it was obviously a huge goal for our line. But it’s always nicer when you win, for sure. We’ve got to find a way to close those games.”

On his goal that put the B’s up 3-1, his linemates Jakub Lauko and Jesper Boqvist won a battle behind the net and Boqvist made a nice backhand pass out front to Richard, who roofed it past Kings goalie David Rittich.

Richard had developed some chemistry with Boqvist in Providence.

“I loved playing with Boqie in Providence,” said Richard. “He’s got a lot of speed, especially playing the middle. In Providence, he was playing on the wing and I know his natural position is center. With him coming through the middle with a lot of speed, it’s easier for me and (Lauko). I think he had a really solid game and it was easy for me to get to the net. He created a lot of spaces for me. He’s a great player and it’s fun to play with him.”

Coach Jim Montgomery liked more than the goal.

“I think his compete and his willingness to be hard on walls and hard down on the forecheck, I think that buys him another game, more than the goal itself,” said Montgomery. “The goal’s nice and great to see him have that poise right at the net front.”…

James van Riemsdyk has made a living in the NHL at the top of the crease. But this year, for some strange reason, he hasn’t been able to put his chances away from there. It got darkly comical on Thursday when his redirect of a David Pastrnak pass missed a wide open net.

But the hockey gods started evening things out on Saturday. First, he took advantage of Trent Frederic’’s net drive, pulling the puck out of a pileup and scoring his first goal of the day. Then later in the first, he made a nifty backhand chip of a loose puck in tight on the power play for his second goal of the day and 11th of the season.

“It’s always nice to pot a couple,” said James van Riemsdyk. “Obviously, I wish it was in a win, but I felt like I was a little bit snakebit for a good chunk of the year, so it’s nice to get rewarded with a couple. But I’d much rather have the win.”

The B’s hadn’t been getting much from their bottom six but Montgomery made a couple of changes that worked out. He dropped Richard to the fourth line and Frederic to the third line. It produced one fourth line goal and two third line goals. The third unit of Frederic, Morgan Geekie and van Riemsdyk was one of their better lines of the day.

“(I liked) how direct and how north they were and how they went to hard areas and how they won goal line races,” said Montgomery….

The B’s third defense pairing has been struggling and it hurt them on Saturday. Kevin Shattenkirk had a bad break on the Kings’ second goal that got them back in the game when a shot deflected off him and into the net. Then Derek Forbort and Shattenkirk couldn’t clear the net front on the Kings’ third goal which tied the game early in the third period.

Finally, Forbort, who has struggled to get his game back up to speed after dealing with a groin injury for most of the season, could not clear the puck on the Kings’ late power play, leading to their game-tying goal.

While Parker Wotherspoon is always an option to go back in, Montgomery was asked if there was anything else to that could be done to re-constitute the back end.

Said Montgomery: “That’s a good question. Haven’t thought about it.”…

The B’s had a rare game in all top three centers had good games in faceoffs. Charlie Coyle won 16-of-24, Pavel Zacha won 16-of-23 anf Morgan Geekie won 8-of-12.