Krejci ready to 'step it up' as he gets back in the flow for Bruins

Krejci ready to 'step it up' as he gets back in the flow for Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – David Krejci said that he felt better as things went along in his return to the Game 3 lineup after missing the first couple of contests, and that’s very good news for the Bruins. Even better was his presence at Tuesday afternoon’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena one day later, which should be a good sign that the worst of his upper body injury is now behind him in the middle of Boston’s first round series with the Ottawa Senators.

“I feel good today, I felt good at practice and tomorrow I’m ready to go,” said Krejci, who played in all 82 regular season games before missing the first couple of Boston’s playoff games. “It’s the playoffs and everybody needs to step it up. That’s what it is. First period was tough, but I felt like we were making some plays in the second and third period and getting close. I definitely felt better as the game went along.”

The 14:38 of ice time on Monday night’s Game 3 was definitely below his usual standard and he was clearly rusty after jumping from not playing to playoff hockey, but Krejci also had a great scoring chance late in the game that was robbed by a Craig Anderson stop. That should be a preview of things to come as Krejci gets back into the swing of things, and again becomes the clutch postseason player with 29 goals and 77 points in 94 career playoff games.

B’s interim coach Bruce Cassidy certainly expects Krejci to start moving in an onward and upward now that he's back in the lineup, and that’s nothing but a positive sign for a Bruins team that’s been too one-dimensional on offense in this series.

“With him I expected it would take a little time because he had missed some time,” said Cassidy. “Eventually he got going and he had a chance to put the game away in the third on a great play by David Backes, and they made a good save. I would expect to see even more out of him tomorrow provided he wakes up feeling healthy and ready to play. It was a bit of an unknown going into [Game 3] so we had to watch his minutes.

“But he’s a big game player. In the playoffs he’s had a great history on their Cup Final runs. So you have to live in the moment, but you hope some of that comes through. He’s one of the guys we’re going to rely on, so it was good to see him out [on the practice ice] today. He’s a leader and a good player for us, and we need both.”

Now that Krejci is back and healthy he’ll be looking to regain the form of the guy that finished tying a career-high with his 23 goals and notched 54 points during the regular season, and force the Senators into stopping more than one forward line if they want to handle the B’s. 

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

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Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.


Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

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Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.