Boston’s Trent Frederic gets held up by Jack Johnson, left, and Libor Hajek of the Rangers during Sunday’s game in New York. Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via AP

 

After a strong 4-1 win Sunday for the Boston Bruins, Trent Frederic was asked if he was jealous with Nick Ritchie for getting to throw punches with the Brendan Lemieux of the Rangers.

The rugged rookie broke into what has become his trademark grin.

“A little bit,” said Frederic with a laugh. “It was pretty cool. Fun to watch. Hopefully I get another shot at, um, 48, and I don’t know. We’ll see. I don’t have enough goals for him, I guess.”

Frederic was not pleased after tangling with Lemieux earlier this season when the Ranger starting throwing punches before Frederic got his gloves off. So it’s a pretty good bet he was practicing the art of some subtle trash talk.

And, no, Frederic, does not have a ton of goals (2). But he did produce the game-winner in the Bruins win Sunday, a greasy goal in which he went to the net and deflected home a Connor Clifton shot late in the first period.

Coach Bruce Cassidy appreciates both the disciplined moxie (he has just one minor penalty, taken in garbage time Thursday on Long Island) and the player that’s emerging. He complimented Frederic after the game in a way only hockey folks would get.

“Yeah, he’s starting to annoy people,” said Cassidy. “He’s a big body who can back it up. We’re seeing some growth in his game. … He needed some developing and now you’re seeing the edge to his game. You never know who’s going to be vocal on the ice and who’s going to be quiet. He’s certainly vocal now, getting people’s attention and willing to back it up. So you need players like that.

“It’s a long year. You need energy in different ways. And if that’s what makes him a better player, then we’re all for it, as long as he doesn’t cross the line. Or when he does, we reel him in. So far I think it’s been done with a great amount of discipline and he’s gotten better in every stretch of 10 games. That’s what you hope for.”

The trip finished better than it started for Frederic. His turnover in front of the Bruins net Thursday was the start of a third-period collapse against the Islanders.

“Not every game is perfect,” said Frederic. “There’s a lot of bumps in the road, but the guys and the coaching staff have been great in supporting me through the good times and the bad. It’s nice. So hopefully I can keep playing hard and helping this team win games.”

He knows his career is still in its infancy and he’s still trying to find his way.

“Throughout however many games I played, I probably haven’t figured it all out yet, but guys are just smart players,” said Frederic. “Guys don’t give you as much room out there and it’s all about creating that space and figure out what your game is.”

CASSIDY MADE SOME adjustments on the back end that worked. He moved Jakub Zboril up to the top pair with Charlie McAvoy, put Clifton on his off-side with Brandon Carlo and moved Urho Vaakanainen to a third pair with Steven Kampfer, who replaced John Moore. Zboril was steady in 18:39 of ice time.

While Vaakanainen may have been dropped on the depth chart, he still saw 21:21 of ice time – second to only McAvoy – and played well in his role, posting a plus-2 and blocking a team-high six shots.

GREG MCKEGG, signed as a free agent in the offseason, saw his first game action of the season Sunday. Karson Kuhlman also went into the lineup as Anders Bjork and Chris Wagner took a seat.

“We just feel that now’s the time to A, get a look at (McKegg) and B, shake it up a little bit so that people understand the value of being in the lineup every night as well. It’s a little bit of both,” said Cassidy before the game.

While McKegg and Kuhlman were on the ice for the only goal against, McKegg had three shots on net, three hits and won three of four faceoffs. Kuhlman had two shots and two hits.

JACK STUDNICKA has been all around the net lately, but he can’t seem to get anything to go. He was stopped on a partial breakaway and then Alexandar Georgiev stoned him on a Grade-A chance late in the second period. The rookie did have some trouble in the faceoff circle, however, winning just four-of-15.

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