Center Ryan Spooner made a good impression early in Boston’s preseason game against Montreal on Tuesday, taking advantage of a turnover by Nikita Scherbak to find the back of the net just 1:17 minutes into the contest. That matters for a guy like Spooner, 22, who is in a heated battle to make the Boston Bruins’ opening game roster, but the contest didn’t have a happy ending for him.
A defensive error by Spooner contributed to Montreal’s Drayson Bowman netting the game-winning goal in the 3-2 contest.
“In Spoon’s case it was nice to see him score that goal, but if you watched the game he’s still a liability defensively,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, per CSN New England. “The guy gets a quality shot from the slot there [on the game-winner], so he needs to keep working on that part of his game. It’s okay and it’s exciting to see a guy do great offensively, and we love his game offensively. But at the same time if you score a goal and you give up two, then you’re not really helping your team.
“We need commitment from that part of his game to see that he’s going to work hard at it.”
Julien added that Spooner needs to work on his back-checking in particular. There will be other opportunities for Spooner to prove he can be reliable defensively before the Bruins are forced to decide on who makes the team, but it seems apparent that he will need to do more going forward.