MONTREAL — Jeremy Lauzon has had more NHL moments than he likely expected heading into the season.
With injuries battering the Bruins defense, Lauzon has been called into duty and done an admirable job with a heavier than anticipated workload, being the third-most experienced rookie in the lineup at some points, despite last night marking just his 11th NHL game.
And he experienced one of his most special moments yet at the Bell Centre, playing in his home province of Quebec against the Canadiens.
“It’s pretty special,” he said. “I think I played here once, or a couple times before in juniors. It was special.”
Growing up in Val D’or, Lauzon was a Habs fan. He cited Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov — who, like Lauzon, donned the No. 79 jersey, a pure coincidence according to the B’s rookie — as his favorite players as a kid.
He’s experienced the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry once before when Montreal won at the Garden last month. But playing at the rink where he watched his favorite team as a kid a handful of times carries extra weight.
“I came a little bit,” he said. “But I was still six hours from here. I went to a couple games for sure, when I was young, that was my team.”
For a Bruins team that has dealt with blow after blow to its defense, Lauzon’s ability to step in and play strong on the back line and even contribute to the penalty kill has lightened the load on the rest of the healthy — and inexperienced — group.
He’s been shifted around to play with different defense partners and in different scenarios, and at times, has had his name called for more shifts on the road due to matchups.
For Lauzon, it’s all out of his control and he’s remained focused on playing the way he has to succeed in his first NHL contests.
“I don’t concentrate on that, I just concentrate on myself and what I am capable of,” he said. “Just have to play hard.”
More of Moore
John Moore returned Friday night to a defense corps in need of more bodies, especially with prominent NHL experience.
It was just one small step at getting back to full strength.
“I felt good,” he said. “Definitely good to be on the right side of it. It felt good to be back out there helping my team. It’s not the best feeling when a ton of guys are hurt and you go down too. You want to get back in as soon as you can.”
Moore has been versatile enough to rotate to both the left and right side and alternate pairings, which has made life a little bit easier for a Bruins team that has gone through 12 different defensemen.
“I’m comfortable with both,” he said. “I liken it to jumping into your car and trying to drive it with your left foot. It takes a little while to get used to it, but once you’re used to it, you’re comfortable there.”
While Moore doesn’t have a preference, the Bruins would like to get him in a consistent position.
“I think he’s better on the left side,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ve talked about what side to play him (last night) and he’s back on the right, just out of necessity.”