DALLAS — Jake DeBrusk’s third opening night had a little more urgency to it, but perhaps a bit more comfort.
The first time around was DeBrusk’s initial coming-out party, scoring a goal in the home opener against the Predators amidst a roster that featured six rookies. Then last season began with a 7-0 loss in Washington.
On the road again, he knew what to expect this time as the Bruins opened the 2019-20 season Thursday night against the Stars. The Bruins won 2-1, scoring twice in the first six minutes.
“I think I’m more comfortable definitely,” he said. “Just more comfortable with the guys here and the systems, and things like that. It’s different when you’re trying to make a team here, you’re making sure your details are dialed in and that comes with different games and playing through it.”
DeBrusk has had somewhat of a luxury in being paired with David Krejci since almost the beginning, and for almost all of last season, even when there were questions about the third player to make up that trio. With Krejci on the mend, it’s left DeBrusk to have to think about trying to get acclimated with a different situation for almost the first time.
“It is different, I’ve been paired with him other than a few games here and there my rookie year, but nothing (playing without Krejci) consistent,” DeBrusk said. “The right side has always been unknown, sometimes even I’ve played the right side. So I’m used to playing with different guys on this team, just one of those things that is a little bit of a concern when your favorite guy is out, but it’s always next man up with this team and I’m always going to play my game.”
No matter who he ends up playing with and what that second line looks like, even when Krejci is fully healthy and has no injury concerns, a big season from DeBrusk could answer a lot of questions as far as where five-on-five scoring will come from aside from the top line.
It always helps to have more of a comfort zone, and even with changes around him, just being established in his third season has helped DeBrusk reach that point.
“Coming into this one, just looking to start the season with our best foot forward,” he said. “Just excited to play hockey again.”
KREJCI WAS A game-time decision after skating with the team in his usual spot centering the second line during morning skate. Coach Bruce Cassidy said Krejci was feeling “tender” after practice. He didn’t join the team for pregame skate and ultimately missed the game.
Krejci was injured 1:55 into his first preseason game, where he was dealt a lower body injury.
“It’s kind of hard to find a balance but obviously first game you want to be out there with your teammates,” Krejci said before the game. “You never want to miss a game, but at the same time, gotta make the decision that’s best for myself and my teammates.”
Krejci missed just one game last season, when the Bruins rested him on the final day of the season.
WITH THEIR LAST game less than four months ago, the Bruins didn’t have many pregame jitters before their first regular-season game.
“It’s tough to be nervous for the first game of the season when you just went to the finals,” Brad Marchand said before the game. “I think the biggest thing is making sure we continue to prepare the way we always have and realize that we want to start on a really good note here and continue to build our game the way have throughout camp. But I think we’re all excited to get it going and see what this season brings.”

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