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James van Riemsdyk’s netfront abilities shine on Bruins’ reworked energy play


“It is the best way that he is made a residing.”

James van Riemsdyk scored his first two targets with the Bruins on Saturday evening. (AP Photograph/Michael Dwyer)

James van Riemsdyk could not wield a blistering one-time shot like his new teammate in David Pastrnak.

The spotlight reel that he’s compiled over 15 years within the NHL isn’t essentially inundated with dekes and dangles in Grade-A ice.

However with 89 profession power-play tallies on his resume, it’s clear that the 34-year-old veteran is doing one thing proper on the person benefit.

In fact, having the willingness to plant oneself on the netfront once you’re 6-foot-3 and 208 kilos can normally go a great distance towards burying just a few appears whereas up a skater. However the energy ahead’s eager hand-eye coordination and knack for tipping volleys of vulcanized rubber places him in uncommon firm amongst power-play specialists.

“He’s a particularly good tipper of the puck,” Charlie McAvoy mentioned of one in every of Boston’s free-agent pickups earlier this week. “Once I consider him, I consider David Backes — somebody who you knew across the league who was extraordinarily gifted at tipping the puck.

“I feel Joe Pavelski might be the one which involves thoughts once you consider that. JVR is basically good at that. It’s the best way that he’s made a residing. So we gotta give him the possibility.”

The probabilities lastly got here van Riemsdyk’s manner on Saturday evening at TD Backyard. And in simply his second sport in a Bruins sweater, the big-bodied skater showcased why Boston believed his ability set may make an already potent energy play even deadlier.

In a gutsy matchup towards the Predators the place Boston needed to preserve off the ropes towards seven Nashville energy performs, van Riemsdyk delivered the knockout punch on particular groups — scoring twice on the facility play to push Boston to a 3-2 victory at TD Backyard.

It was an encouraging begin for van Riemsdyk, who matched his power-play scoring output (two targets) from final season with the Flyers … in 59 fewer video games.

“It’s an enormous a part of my position and my job right here is to be efficient there and once more, there are nice gamers that I’m on the market on the ice with, in order that makes it plenty of enjoyable,” van Riemsdyk mentioned. “So these guys clearly make a ton of nice performs and it’s my job to be across the internet and capitalize when it’s my time to try this. So it’s nice to be on the market with guys that may snap the puck round like these guys.”

Even with Patrice Bergeron’s absence on the “bumper” place, Boston didn’t have to remodel its whole power-play unit this summer season.

Such an overhaul isn’t crucial once you nonetheless have a 60-goal scorer like Pastrnak in place, together with a poised passer like Brad Marchand on the half wall.

However van Riemsdyk’s capacity to show seemingly innocent pictures from the purpose into high quality appears provides one other much-needed aspect on the netfront.

“He means that you can make much more performs low, simply due to his capacity to tip pucks,” Jim Montgomery mentioned. “All people sees, I imply that second objective is unbelievable. However the performs that we go down low, he has the poise and he makes actually good selections, and so they need to be split-second selections.”

His first objective of the night may need been manufactured off of a lucky bounce, however van Riemsdyk’s willingness to dish out these cross-crease feeds will proceed to result in high quality appears.

The eventual game-winning tally at 2:52 within the third interval was no fluke, with the winger taking a wrist shot from McAvoy and altering its path ever so barely to beat probably the greatest netminders within the league in Juuse Saros.

“I gotta get it there for him,” McAvoy mentioned of van Riemsdyk. “He has a profession on this league outta getting there and he’s proven it in observe that he can do it. … So I gotta preserve engaged on my chemistry with him. However I’m actually comfortable to see him tip one in. It’s an enormous objective for us.”

van Riemsdyk will not be the identical participant who averaged 27.1 targets per season from 2013-19.

However the underlying numbers final season supplied up hope that his two tallies on the facility play with a dreadful Flyers group had been a stark outlier from his established manufacturing.

Even with these two targets in Philly, van Riemsdyk posted a person anticipated targets for fee of 4.75 on the facility play — which ranked second on the Flyers and truly was forty seventh in the complete NHL. Not dangerous for a participant mired on the league’s worst energy play (15.6%) final season.

He will not be the focus on a prime power-play unit, however van Riemsdyk is way over a bargain-bin addition to Boston’s roster, particularly on the person benefit.

“It’s been superb,” van Riemsdyk mentioned of the cheers at TD Backyard. “Clearly, with all the years I’ve performed, this is without doubt one of the finest locations within the league to play and it’s an ideal ambiance each evening and it’s enjoyable to be on the great facet of that as an alternative of getting booed. So it’s at all times enjoyable.”