Mired in month-long slump, Jake DeBrusk is holding himself accountable

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Like any young forward learning the ropes up at the NHL level, Jake DeBrusk is not immune to a few cold stretches that come during a grueling 82-game campaign.

As a rookie last season, DeBrusk twice went through a skid in which he was held off the scoresheet for five or more games — the longest drought lasting from Oct. 15 - Oct. 30. Still, the tenacious winger hit his stride on David Krejci’s line — tallying 43 points and setting high expectations for 2018-19 with more reps in a top-six role.

It hasn’t quite gone as according to script, at least in DeBrusk’s mind. While the 22-year-old forward ranks fourth on the B’s in goals with 14 on the year, he hasn’t lit the lamp in a month, with his last tally coming back on Jan. 8 against Minnesota.

It’s a been a season of dry spells and hot streaks for DeBrusk — who only notched two points over his first nine games of the year before reeling off a stretch of seven goals over 10 games in November.

Since returning from a concussion on Dec. 27, however, DeBrusk has seen his offensive numbers plummet to just four goals and seven points over 17 games. In his last 11 outings, those numbers drop to zero goals and just two assists.

While he’s been a regular on Krejci’s line all season long, DeBrusk found himself slotted back down into the bottom six midway through Wednesday's shootout loss to the Rangers, relegated to just 12:06 TOI while with Joakim Nordstrom and Trent Frederic.

DeBrusk will once again find himself down on the third line for Saturday’s matinee against the Kings, skating as part of another reshuffled trio with Sean Kuraly at center and David Backes at right wing.

He may not have the same offensive playmakers that he had the luxury of skating with such as Krejci, but a change in scenery might be what DeBrusk needs to get back on track — especially when paired with a speedy pivot in Kuraly and a north-south player like Backes.