(Photo Credit: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

All the emotions poured out of Jakub Lauko on Thursday night. When Lauko laced up the skates ahead of a matchup with the Colorado Avalanche, his season-long goal drought remained looming over his head. However, In Thursday’s 5-2 win, Lauko’s skid didn’t last more than five minutes. The 23-year-old lit the lamp in the first period, and he couldn’t help but appreciate the moment in front of the TD Garden crowd as the Boston Bruins powered past the Avalanche.

“Sometimes it wasn’t easy,” Lauko told reporters after Boston’s morning skate on Friday. “Obviously when you have a couple chances during a game (and) you miss an empty net or something, its’s really frustrating. So it was hard, it was hard to get through it. Yesterday, I didn’t really have much going on this season, so it wasn’t easy sometimes. It was kind of hard.”

Lauko isn’t kidding. In an October 24th matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Lauko was inches away from disaster when he nearly caught a skate blade in his left eye. He missed almost a month of game action while receiving stitches and recovering from the scare. And when he returned to play in mid-November, Lauko was stricken from finding the back of the net. Hovering around nine minutes of time on ice in most games, the gritty winger has found other ways to impact the B’s.

“I know my role obviously,” said Lauko. “So what I need to do, playing physical and the only difference from yesterday was I was on the third line. But we were playing those minutes, and we’re not playing minutes like (David Pastrnak) or (Brad Marchand), so every single time I’m on the ice, I’m trying to do my best. Just being physical and trying to hit people and get some hits. When I’m on the bench, I’m trying to get the guys going and keep a healthy atmosphere on the bench.”

Lauko took on the role of a wrecking ball, providing energy for the Black and Gold through hard hits and dropping the gloves with the opposition. In just his first game cleared to drop the mits due to his injury, Lauko ensued chaos. He entered the ring with Minnesota Wild’s Connor Dewar, landing numerous heavy blows to receive the unanimous victory. Four days later, he found himself in another tussle fighting Minnesota’s Brandon Duhaime in another vicious bout.

Lauko has coupled his frequent fisticuffs with his ability to be the perfect teammate. In and out of the lineup riding a fourth-line role for most of the season, it can be easy for any National Hockey League player to be discouraged and act accordingly. That’s not the case for Lauko, who has been the ultimate supporter of his teammates through the ups and downs of his season’s roller coaster. When he tucked Morgan Geekie’s feed past Alexander Georgiev on Thursday, his teammates couldn’t help but feel happy for him.

“I think everybody was really happy for him,” head coach Jim Montgomery said on Friday. “He’s a real likable teammate just because of the energy and the kind of goofy smile he carries around on himself. He brings positive energy to the group that way and I think everybody was really happy for him. I know he was extremely relieved.”

Now that Lauko has got his first score of the season out of the way, it looks as though his shot on the third line alongside Geekie and Trent Frederic could be a mainstay for tomorrow’s matchup with the Montreal Canadians, barring a return of Matt Poitras. Regardless of what line the second-year NHLer is slotted on, Bruins fans can expect the same brand of hard-nosed hockey from Lauko that they’ve seen all year. For a player like Lauko, goals are icing on the cake for what he brings to the Bruins—but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of an incoming offensive jolt after breaking the ice on Thursday.