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

Just last weekend, Boston Bruins rookie Mason Lohrei was in Providence for a two-game swing in the American Hockey League as the Providence Bruins closed out regular season play. Three days later, the 23-year-old blueliner is in Toronto, where he’s expected to make his National Hockey League postseason debut ahead of Game 3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I got the call, packed my stuff, and drove down to Boston,” Lohrei told reporters Wednesday morning. “I’m really excited to be here now and be with the group.”

Lohrei has been up and down from the B’s and their minor league affiliate throughout his freshman campaign, playing 41 NHL games and 21 AHL games while developing his play style. Lohrei is expected to draw into Jim Montgomery’s lineup alongside Charlie McAvoy to replace Matt Grzelcyk.

It was unsure whether the youngster would crack the postseason lineup this spring, but with Andrew Peeke sidelined after suffering an injury in Game 2, the door is open to play with the defensive pairings. The Bruins will lose Grzelyck’s puck-moving ability but hope to gain Lohrei’s offensive and physical presence to a pivotal Game 3 across the border.

(Photo Credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

“I know exactly what they want from me,” said Lohrei, who last saw NHL action on April 2. “It’s been pretty clear all year. Obviously, ups and downs in the season and learning throughout this year. I know what they want, so I’ll go out there and do that to the best of my ability.”

Lohrei’s defensive zone play has been a problem throughout his multiple NHL stints. He’s shown recurring habits of turning the puck over and spotty net front coverage, which has made him a liability—at times—in Boston’s back end. His leash with the Bruins has been short, resulting in several trips down 95-South to Providence this season.

However, since his first NHL appearance in November, Lohrei has revealed impressive flashes of raw offensive skill in his game. The 6′5″, 211-pound defenseman moves exceptionally well for his stature while showing a raw ability to handle pucks and make plays under pressure. He totaled 4-9-13 at the NHL level this season.

While the Bruins would benefit from an extra offensive punch, they need Lohrei to take pride in the details on Wednesday. Toronto’s offense has shown spurts of its ability to create plays in Game 2, including an impressive connection between Max Domi and Auston Matthews that proved to be the game-winning tally. If the B’s can limit those plays, their chances of being successful in this series drastically increase. Lohrei fully understands that job.

“Being more physical, boxing out, and playing the rush,” said Lohrei of what the coaching staff expects from him. “Just being responsible defensively. It’s not a super glorified area of the game, but I’m pretty confident in the strides that I’ve made this year, and I’m only going to keep trying to get better at that.”