Bruins

Krejci aiming for more shots, goals this season

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Krejci aiming for more shots, goals this season

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON -- Some of the Bruins playoff stats can be pretty eye-opening when placed under the microscope.

Some players regressed away from their regular-season performance, some maintained their body of work, and some ascended to a truly different level amid the Stanley Cup playoff battleground.

David Krejci is in the latter category, and he knows it. The 25-year-old playmaking center managed only 13 goals and 62 points in 73 regular-season games for the Bruins last year.

It wasnt a bad season at all.

But it could have been better for Krejci had an early season concussion and a brief Marc Savard return a move that temporarily displaced him as the No. 1 center -- not negatively affected his offensive numbers. That much was obvious when Krejci led all skaters with 12 goals during the Bs Stanley Cup playoff run a total that was only one less than he managed in more than 70 games during the regular season.

Krejci was well aware of the numbers, and admitted that getting more aggressive with his own offense is something hes focused on heading into the final season of his contract.

Im going to try to carry the momentum of what I had in the playoffs. Ill try to score some goals, said Krejci. Im going to shoot a lot. Im not going to pass up on any shots this year. Its easy to say, but Ive got to show it on the ice so weve just got to wait and see.

Theres also a matter of gaining more consistency in his game, and showing the same kind of want to during a December game against the Florida Panthers as he has once the playoffs begin.

If youre satisfied with your play, then that it isnt good enough. Youve always got to be better. I know I can be better in every single situation, said Krejci, who is often his worst critic in most instances. Get my speed, get stronger, and especially score more goals this year than I did last year in the regular season. Thats where Im going to focus, and it all starts with a strong camp and a good start to the season.

The numbers would seem to indicate that Krejci will score more this season given that he managed a career-high 157 shots on net last season, and trouble finishing around the net led to scoring on only 8.3 percent of those shots. Combined with shooting percentage totals of 10.9 percent (2009-10) and 15.1 percent (2008-09) over the previous two seasons, Krejci should have no problem pumping in close to 20 goals skating with Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic for a full season.

Coach Claude Julien drew a parallel to Savards battle with shooting versus passing, and the aggressiveness that can take opponents armed with their pass first scouting reports -- by surprise when Krejci attacks the net. That happened over and over during the playoffs when defenses paid plenty of attention to Horton and Lucic on his wings, and left Krejci with room to operate.

I think the Stanley Cup playoffs is where he gained a lot of that confidence," Julien said. "He realized he can do it in the playoffs he scored almost as many in the playoffs as he did during the regular season and it was because he decided to shoot more and went more to the net. There was a little bit more determination in that area. I think he realized that hes capable of doing that. I see a guy probably improving with those numbers this year especially if he understands it and focuses on it.

Youre going to see him shoot a little more and we need that from David. There were times last year where he had some great scoring areas and chose to pass instead of shoot. We had that issue with Savvy Marc Savard at one point, he always looked to pass before shooting. Those guys know that they do that, but breaking them out of the habit is tougher than realizing it.

Krejci need only review some of the game tape from last years playoff run to witness how much tougher he is to handle when looking for his own offense, and make it just as hard on the rest of the NHL as he did during the postseason.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

No hesitation from Chara in scoring after scary incident in Montreal

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No hesitation from Chara in scoring after scary incident in Montreal

BOSTON – Less than 48 hours after one of his legendarily hard slap shots put a Montreal Canadiens forward in the hospital after striking him in the head, Zdeno Chara didn’t hesitate when given the chance to wind up and blast away on Monday afternoon.

It was the 40-year-old Chara that rocketed a slapper past Kari Lehtonen at the end of the second period, and in doing so energized the Bruins while getting them on the scoreboard. The Chara goal helped earn the Black and Gold a point in overtime before eventually falling to the Dallas Stars by a 3-2 score at TD Garden on Monday afternoon.

The Bruins captain had been texting with the felled Montreal winger on Monday, and was fully aware that Phillip Danault was out of the hospital and doing well aside from understandable concussion symptoms after a puck to the head. Perhaps that eased Chara’s mind just a little when it came time to lean into another wind-up slapper on Monday, but it was also certainly aided by the lack of brave bodies willing to front one of his heavy, hard point blasts.

“I obviously spoke to Phillip a number of times. I talked to him right after the game and wanted to make sure he was okay, and he texted me back that he’s doing fine. He’s been released [from the hospital] and that’s very positive, good news,” said Chara. “It’s obviously very unfortunate that it’s something that happens quite often, but it’s something you never want to see with somebody getting hit and hurt. I’m very happy he’s going to recover fully and hopefully he’s back on the ice and playing hockey [soon] like we all do.”

Was there any hesitation to Chara winding up and stepping into a 100-mph slap shot so quickly after the ugly incident in Montreal?

“It’s something that doesn’t happen very often where you have that clean [shooting] path to the net where you can settle the puck, take a look and take a full slapper,” said Chara. “Usually teams play so well structurally that there’s already somebody fronting it, and you’ve got to get it through him with bodies in front. It does happen, but it’s nice that you have that time to put everything on it.”

That’s exactly what the 6-foot-9 defenseman did in sparking the Bruins to come back from a 2-0 deficit and push for the overtime point while extending their point streak to a season-best 13 games and counting.

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Overtime heroics a reminder of what Bruins gave up in Seguin

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Overtime heroics a reminder of what Bruins gave up in Seguin

BOSTON – The Tyler Seguin trade from the Bruins is pretty much ancient history at this point.

It was almost five years ago, all of the good-but-not-great players Boston received in the deal from Dallas are long gone. The Bruins general manager that engineered the big trade is now dealing with totally different brush fires while running a star-crossed Edmonton Oilers group.

But the one Stars visit per season to Boston usually serves as a reminder of what the B’s dealt away in the Fourth of July trade, and for perhaps the first time ever Seguin looked like a legit, all-around No. 1 center in the Stars 3-2 overtime win over the B’s at TD Garden. Seguin made the highlight reel with an overtime game-winner after dangling through the entire Bruins group on the ice, and watching bemusement as Bruins kept diving at him trying to stop him.

The gassed trio of Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk were on the ice hemmed into the D-zone for a long time, and simply couldn’t get the puck away from the Stars once a delayed penalty was called on Grzelcyk.

“I felt like everyone was just sliding at me, and the whole time I wanted to pass, so I was just kind of looking for the right play and just kept holding it,” said Seguin, who is on pace for 39 goals and 75 points this season with the Stars. “I just kind of shot it and luckily it went in.”

It was more than luck as Anton Khudobin had already dropped into a crazed double-pad stacked save attempt while Seguin was still holding patiently onto the puck.

“That’s really tough, to be honest. He has the puck there, and all the way, all the way, going, going, going, going and I mean, guys were laying down and trying to block the shot,” said Khudobin. “He had a lot of patience and I think it went between my legs or something like that and it’s just tough. Good goal by him.'

“Nothing is impossible. You know, [Seguin] is a good player and he scored a pretty good goal. But at the same time I can stop that. But I didn’t this time and overtime is not really easy because it’s 3-on-3.”

But all the overtime heroics aside, Seguin was solid throughout the game. It was almost enough to make Bruins fans go through the entire gamut of emotions again at one of a number of trades where the organization cut bait on a talented player at a very young juncture of their career.

“I think he’s through testing. I think he has made himself to be a very good player, and he’s accountable in every situation. He’s really matured. I think he’s a guy that we don’t even worry about anymore,” said Dallas head coach Ken Hitchcock. “Everyone talked about, ‘Can you make him a one?’ Well, quite frankly, he’s a [No. 1 center], and he’s playing like a one. He’s played six games in a row like this, and this is what you want in a number one center. He’s doing the job.

“He’s killing penalties, he’s out there taking key face-offs, he’s quarterbacking the power play, and he’s playing against the other team’s best player. To me, that’s what a [No. 1 center] does, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

Mostly matched up against the Perfection Line that he used to be a part of, Seguin managed a 12-for-21 performance in the face-off circle while holding Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak off the board offensively. Even better for Seguin and Dallas, he was on the ice for the second Stars goal against the Bergeron trio for only the second even strength goal they’ve given up all season.

Seguin killed penalties, he finished with four shot attempts, had a couple of takeaways and played the kind of mature, 200-foot game that most wondered if he’d ever be capable of in his NHL career.

So credit where it’s due for Seguin showing all of that while clearly still in a headspace where coming to Boston is special for him.

“It’s special and it’s weird playing here still. You know, I enjoy the anthem, and looking up and seeing the banner for the team that I was a part of. It’s always going to be special, you know, playing here and having old teammates on the team,” said Seguin. “I’ve been thinking a lot more of defense, a lot more of face-offs, and a lot more of, you know, the little things. I’ve been judging my performances based on those things more than goals and assists. That’s been the biggest change for me, trying to put the work in, and [against the Bruins] it worked out for me.”

The Bruins have long since chalked up dealing a horse (Seguin) for ponies (Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow) as a big fat loss considering it never got them any closer to another Stanley Cup, and it didn’t give them any players still of use to the organization less than five years later.

But Monday afternoon’s overtime loss to Seguin and the Stars was a different kind of frustrating while watching a more mature, seemingly changed Seguin that would have fit in very nicely with the direction that the Bruins are headed these days.

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