BOSTON – It might have taken a few more games than was comfortable for both player and hockey club, but David Krejci is finally starting to do some damage offensively. The playmaking center scored his first goal of the 2016-17 season on a second period power play point bomb to extend Boston’s lead, and eventually push the Bruins to a solid 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden.
The goal lifted the proverbial offensive monkey off Krejci’s back, and ended what’s been a frustrating stretch of 10 plus games to open a new season coming off hip surgery. Rock-bottom for No. 46 might have been the minus-3 he was saddled with in the loss to the Rangers last weekend, but Monday’s tilt was filled with redemption for a player looking to get on a hot streak after a sluggish beginning.
BRUINS 4, SABRES 0:
- Bruins finally uncover some answers on power play in win over Sabres
- Talking Points: Krejci, Bruins power play bounce back in win vs. Sabres
- Highlights: Boston Bruins 4, Buffalo Sabres 0
- Power play leads the way for Bruins in 4-0 win over Sabres
A confident Krejci is also an effective Krejci, and that’s where the Czech center is trending after finally starting to find his game, and that’s why the B’s offense should be on the rise as well.
“It’s always nice to get the first one. I felt like I was very close the last few games. But yeah, the first one is sometimes a really tough one, especially after so many games like that. It was good to see it go in and hopefully many more [are to come],” said Krejci, who has a goal and five points in 12 games this season. “After a few games when you don’t score, you start squeezing your stick and every time you have a good scoring chance and you don’t put it in the net, you get a little frustrated. So it was nice to get the first one. Hopefully I can build a little more confidence and help the team with offense.”
It was clearly more than the power play goal, however, with Krejci posting a team-high five shots on net, and producing 10 shot attempts overall in 19:30 of ice time while centering a dangerous second line that pounded the Sabres with puck possession. Krejci couldn’t hit pay dirt during 5-on-5 play with David Backes and Ryan Spooner, but they produced a number of chances that kept the pressure on Robin Lehner and the Sabres defense.
Instead the hope is that Krejci is in the beginning stages of one of his patented hot streaks, and that he’ll finally be able to provide the offensive support behind Boston’s top line that’s been conspicuously missing all season.
“It was his first goal of the season. When you’re known for being a guy who can produce and get points, it’s nice to get that one in game No. 12,” said Claude Julien. “So hopefully he can build on that and he can gain some confidence or whatever – some mojo, whatever is needed to continue to help us out in that way. When he’s on his game, he’s one of the most dangerous players on our team.”
You know that Julien means business when he starts talking in terms of "mojo" with one of his players.
Things obviously aren’t totally rosy with Krejci quite yet, however. There’s still the matter of a minus-7 rating for a player that’s much better than that at his best, and one that hasn’t enjoyed a stable situation with his wingers to start the season. The expectation is that Krejci will get things locked in with Backes and Spooner now that they’re both healthy and present on his line, and able to generate the cycling, play-making chemistry that he looks for with his wingers.
Once that all starts happening then the sky is the limit for Krejci and his two high-powered linemates as they attempt to provide some second line, supplemental offense for the Bruins.