Matt Fraser gets defensive and shows he can help fill void for Brad Marchand

Mike Petraglia
November 18, 2014 - 7:59 pm
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Ever since scoring the overtime goal against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the second round last spring, every Bruins fan knew the kid could score. But on Tuesday night, they saw a different side of Fraser, the tough, gritty side, giving the Bruins exactly what they needed with Brad Marchand out with an unspecified injury. Fraser played all 20 shifts with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith as the Bruins beat the Blues, 2-0, at TD Garden. "Obviously, I like scoring goals," Fraser said. "I like to be an offensive threat. But you'€™re not going to be that kind of guy every night. There'€™s going to be times when you have to be relied upon to be a defensive, sound player. I think on this team, that'€™s more my '€“ it'€™s not my job, but I have to broaden my game a little bit because every guy in this room is good defensively. That'€™s how this franchise has built their system: you got to be good defensively. You got to make sure you'€™re good in all three zones." The irony is that Fraser did score a goal - with nine seconds left in the second period - but it was disallowed when referee Chris Lee ruled Fraser slammed into Blues goalie Brian Elliot before Elliot could play the puck. "To me it should have been a goal," coach Claude Julien said. "In my mind the puck'€™s in, it hits him, and it goes in before he even touches the goaltender. But those are unfortunately not reviewable, so he gets deprived from a goal. But the other part '€“ he deserves a lot of credit for his, he was on the line that played against their top-scoring line and defensively I thought he was very reliable. He played big, he played strong with Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and [Reilly] Smith. I think that line did a great job against the [Vladimir] Tarasenko line." What did Lee tell Julien about Fraser's non-goal? "Goalie interference, I guess," Julien said. "That'€™s what the call was for '€“ the goaltender didn'€™t get a chance to stop the puck. I mean this is, you know, I go in my office and I look at two or three times in slow motion and say no, I don'€™t agree with that. But he'€™s got to make that call on the ice and then he doesn'€™t get a chance to review it and it'€™s not reviewable. It'€™s tough; it'€™s tough to take. I think again, we'€™ve been on the wrong side of two goals, I think in the last two games. We'€™ve got to suck it up and keep playing here and that'€™s what we'€™re trying to do." Without scoring, it was the little things Fraser did that did count. A forecheck of Blues defenseman Ian Cole in the first period forced a turnover that wound up on the stick of Bergeron, leading to the game's first goal. "It'€™s one those plays where we want to be harder on our forecheck," Bergeron said. "Matt Fraser was definitely great on using his speed as [first forward] there on the play and I was trying to follow up to be there and try to have a good read as [second forward] and he caused a turnover and I was lucky enough to get the puck there. "I think he'€™s a smart player, he'€™s in good position all the time, he wants to learn, he'€™s always asking questions, uses his speed a lot and its not just about his shot, I think, everybody says he has a great shot but it'€™s the way that he plays and the way that he works. Right now, I thought tonight he had a great effort."