BOSTON -- Ryan Spooner will admit it. He's more of an offensive player. He'll also admit that he realizes what it takes to stick with the Bruins.
"Obviously, playing up here, you've got to do it all," said Spooner.
"All" would include defense, which is not something his line did a very good job of on its first shift Thursday night at the TD Garden.
The Anaheim Ducks scored just 1:52 into the first period on a play that began with Carl Soderberg turning the puck over to Dustin Penner at the blue line. But even after the turnover, Bruins forwards found themselves out of position, chasing the puck, and ultimately leaving Devante Smith-Pelly open for a snap shot from the high slot, which he buried upstairs to give the Ducks an early 1-0 lead.
"When that happens on the first shift, it kind of sucks," said Spooner after Thursday's game, in which the Bruins eventually won 3-2 in a shootout. "But I guess you just have to kind of re-focus and go from there."
Spooner was called up from Providence early Thursday morning. He said he was preparing to go to practice with the AHL affiliate, but got a wake-up call at 7 a.m., telling him to report to Boston instead.
And he was in the lineup against Anaheim, centering a line with Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg.
"They gave us a little bit more," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the victory. "I mean, they scored a goal. I'm not sure that [Kelly] is as best utilized on the wing as he is at center. But the one thing I thought is, [Spooner] did give us some speed on that line and created some of that stuff. For their first time together, I think they were okay."
That goal came with 7:15 left in the second period, and tied the score at 1. Spooner picked up his first NHL point with the assist on Soderberg's goal, as he sent a cross-ice pass up to Kelly at the Ducks' blue line, and Kelly tapped it ahead to a streaking Soderberg, who came in all alone and finished low.
"I kind of just threw it across the ice, got a good bounce, and it went into the net," said Spooner.
"I was lucky to have [Kelly] on my line," added Spooner. "He's played a lot of games, so it was easier. He took some key face-offs fro me, took a little bit of stress off of that aspect of the game. I thought it went good."
So good, that Julien felt comfortable enough to let Spooner be the first to go in the shootout.
"I've been pretty good down in Providence this year," said Spooner. "I'm 2-for-3. Yeah, I was a little bit, I guess, surprised there, but I just tried to do the move that I've been doing, and I got stopped."
Spooner came in with speed, wide down the right side, and cut hard across the slot, trying to slip it five-hole, but Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller made the pad save.
"I think he's been a real good shootout player," said Julien. "Even in preseasons when we had shootouts, we used him. I've seen him now for a few years in Providence. He's pretty good.
"And he actually, to me, he had the five-hole," added the Bruins' coach. "And the goaltender made a pretty good save. So, as much as it looked like it was an easy save, I think he had the right place to put the puck, and it just didn't go through."
Still, Spooner's linemates were pleased with his performance on Thursday night.
"I think he got more and more comfortable," said Kelly. "And you know I've said this playing with all new guys, communication is huge. Just talking makes things easier, and I thought he played well in all three zones."