BOSTON — In late October, Jakub Lauko’s face was gashed open by a skate blade. He missed a couple of weeks after suffering that injury, returning with a full cage to protect his face. He eventually shed that cage but still wasn’t clear to, say, get in a fist fight in the middle of a hockey game.
That changed this week. And the first thing he did? Why, he found himself a dance partner as soon as possible.
“It was the first week I got kind of like a green light to fight, so I went into this game like, first time that I could actually do my thing and play my game,” Lauko said after the Bruins’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Wild on Tuesday night in Boston. “Obviously, when you can fight, you can just go around and like run around trying to hit everyone. So this was the first game that I could play the way I wanted to. “
Lauko dropped the mitts with Minnesota’s Connor Dewar just 7:48 into the game, right after the Wild went up 1-0 on a Marcus Johansson goal. The fight concluded with Lauko dropping Dewar to the ice before raising his arms to get a charge out of the Boston bench and the TD Garden crowd. David Pastrnak scored to tie the game while Lauko was still in the penalty box.
Head coach Jim Montgomery appreciated the spark that gave his team.
“A lot. You know, it was great,” Montgomery said when asked how much the fight provided some juice for the Bruins. “It got us into it and I thought we picked up our intensity after that. Because I thought that they were — you know, they had just scored, and I thought that we were a little flat. So he picked us up.”
Lauko logged just 8:39 of ice time, and the stat sheet only had him down for one hit. But from Montgomery’s perspective, Lauko was a force.
“I do think it was his best game, just because of his intensity on pucks,” Montgomery said. “He was physical, had at least three big hits that I remember. And I thought it was the fourth line’s best game in a long time, and it was much needed for us. It helped us.”
As Lauko explained himself, that was no coincidence, as he even set up his fight while taking pregame warmups.
“So yeah, I was talking to [Dewar] before the game [to see] if he was going to fight. And it was just a look, and like let’s go,” Lauko said. “So yeah, I think we scored right after.”
That effort didn’t help contribute to a win, but the Bruins did come out of the game with a point. And at the very least, the 23-year-old Lauko confirmed that he is indeed a hockey player.
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