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.