By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- On Friday, Benoit Pouliot predicted it wouldnt be long before he got into the lineup. Twenty-four hours later, he made his debut for the Boston Bruins.
The 24-year-old winger slotted into the left wing spot on the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, and paid immediate dividends skating around with something to prove in Bostons 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Everybody seemed to like him tonight for the amount of ice he got, said coach Claude Julien, who opted to scratch Jordan Caron in favor of Pouliot after an ineffective first game from his 20-year-old winger. I thought Pouliot's energy was good, he competed hard, he made some good things happen, and I like the direction he took tonight.
Hes certainly continuing to show us that as he gets more comfortable, he seems to be bringing a little bit more. We all seemed to be happy with his game tonight.
Pouliot doesnt participate in the power play or penalty kill for the Bruins, so there wasnt much in the way of consistent ice time for the former Habs skater. But the newest Bs forward still managed to pack plenty into his 7 minutes and 309 seconds after opening his Bruins career with a punishing body check on Brett Clark behind the Tampa Bay net. The hit immediately pushed Pouliot into the game, and led to some golden offensive chances as well.
The first was when Pouliot found himself out on the ice with the fourth line, and Shawn Thorntons work behind the net led to a wild Pouliot backhander that bounced off Chris Kelly before Mathieu Garon could smother the puck.
The second scoring chance for Pouliot arrived after a Tyler Seguin wraparound move got the Tampa Bay defense scrambling, and the 19-year-old puck wunderkind shoveled a pass to Pouliot waiting all alone in front. Pouliot hammered a one-timer from the doorstep that Garon managed to get a glove on, and his best scoring chance with the Bruins was dashed.
But the winger who managed to wear out his welcome in Minnesota and Montreal looked perfectly effective in his role Saturday night, and gave a glimpse of what he can do once he gets truly comfortable with the systems and the personnel.
My game is speed and using my size, said Pouliot. I went to the net hard, created a couple chances there and could have had a couple. But it's the first game, there's a lot left for the rest of the season. I'm excited for the rest of the year.
I should have had the one-timer, but I think Seguin brought it in front a couple times and Kelly too. It's just a matter of bearing down and capitalizing on those chances. But we'll get a lot of chances. We'll get a lot all year long. You get used to it after a while and start putting them in the net.
Its only one game thus far, but Pouliot showed just how impactful he can be if hes property utilized this season.