Bruins notebook: Matt Poitras shakes off bad turnover

Mistakes can happen to anyone. As it is often said, hockey is a game of mistakes.

But when a 19-year-old rookie makes a mistake that leads to a goal against, that can do a job on the player’s confidence.

It appears Matt Poitras will be just fine, however.

Poitras had his uh-oh moment late in the first period of the Bruins’ 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. Carrying the puck out of the defensive zone, he first avoided J.T. Compher with a nifty move. But once he got over the blue line, Detroit sniper Alex DeBrincat picked his pocket and broke in on a clean breakaway to score to make it 2-0.

The B’s never recovered on the scoreboard, but Poitras played well after that, ripping a shot that just missed the net on the next shift and then drawing a penalty late in the second period.

“I thought (the response) was great. I told him that on the bench,” said coach Jim Montgomery. “I said, ‘You’re a player that has to carry the puck. You’re going to turn it over sometimes.’ But I’m glad on the next shift, he held it, he cut in the middle, let a shot go, almost scored. I don’t want him to lose his confidence with the puck.”

Poitras’ response impressed his teammates.

“Sometimes you don’t know how guys are going to react to mistakes, and we all make mistakes,” said Charlie Coyle. “We’re always there to back each other up, pump each other up, no matter what happens because it’ll happen again and again, to everyone. But he seems like he has that chill attitude where he can move on, not dwell on it and still go out and make plays. I think it was a shift or two after where he was making great plays and almost scoring and creating some scoring opportunities for us. That’s a sign of a pretty good player whose mentally strong as well. That’s pretty rare at a young age.”

Said Poitras’ linemate Jake DeBrusk: “Obviously, playing with him, I wanted to say a couple of things to keep his head right. But he’s a strong guy. He’s got a strong mind. I think he knows he’s going to get the opportunity to come back. The next shift he almost score one, too. I thought he played well overall tonight. I thought he held on to pucks against a pretty aggressive team.”

Growing pains

With Matt Grzelcyk eligible to come off LTIR for Saturday’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, it’s a good bet rookie Mason Lohrei is headed back to Providence at some point. In 10 games, he has 1-3-4 totals, including an assist on Friday. But he was also minus-3 and he sometimes sat on the bench in lead-protecting situations.

“We’ve been communicating, showing video to Mason after every game,” said Montgomery. “I think Joe Sacco and assistant coach John McLean have done a really good job of showing him where he’s really good and where his game needs to evolve. Those things are reading rushes and being firm on pucks, puck battles. Also, in our D-zone, take away time and space. He’s a tremendous young hockey player. We’re so excited we have him, right? But there’s growing pains with young players. There just is.”

Cold turkey

Brad Marchand was held off the board for the second straight game and was tagged with three giveaways, including the final one that handed David Perron the empty netter.

He also took an offensive zone cross-checking penalty on a penalty kill that gave Detroit at 5-on-3 for 1:01.

Montgomery was asked if he sensed his captain getting frustrated.

“I haven’t sensed him frustrated right now, to be honest. I thought he was frustrated the first five games of the year maybe and then he started to simplify his game and I think he’s been very productive for us. But tonight, he had too much tryptophan in him,” said Montgomery with a wry smile.

Loose pucks

With Morgan Geekie returning to the lineup, James van Riemsdyk sat for the first time this year and he was joined by fellow veteran Kevin Shattenkirk, who was replaced in the lineup by Ian Mitchell. Montgomery said the changes had to to do with load management.

“We’re in the middle of five games in eight days,” said Montgomery.

Geekie was out since suffering in upper body injury on Nov. 6 in Dallas. He was in the box for Detroit’s first goal and was minus-1 in 15:05 of ice time.

“Looked rusty,” said Montgomery.


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