Talking Points: Big time effort from Krejci in must-win game
David Krejci continued a strong string of performances with a big time effort against Buffalo in a must-win game. Krejci scored the game-tying goal in the second period and set up Ryan Spooner’s game-winner in the third with a perfect pass after curling out of the corner. He finished with a goal and two points, a plus-1 rating in 18:16 of ice time, six shot attempts, a blocked shot and 9-of-15 face-off wins in a productive night at both ends of the ice. Krejci has two goals and five points in his last three games and came up big when the Bruins leaders really needed to step up and show the way.
Mark Shewchyk and Greg Devorski completely screwed up a potential fight between Adam McQuaid and William Carrier in the first period to the point where one of the players could have been injured. McQuaid challenged Carrier after he knocked David Backes out of the game with a blindside hit, and both players were ready to drop the gloves and work things out until the linesmen stepped in between the two combatants. They basically refused to let the two players square off to fight and then McQuaid took a series of punches to his head as Devorski held down his arms from being able to defend himself. It was a reckless, dangerously botched piece of officiating, and should make the NHL rethink just how quickly their officials are trying to break up these fights. Players are much more likely to take a concussive head shot in a fight when they have a linesman hanging on them locking down their arms. Either completely outlaw fighting with specific rules, or tell the on-ice officials to get out of the way when both players are ready to engage in a fight. To make matters worse, they called McQuaid for an instigator penalty after stepping in and not allowing them to handle things in an honest way.
The Bruins were terrible after 20 minutes without any actual fight, but they stepped up once Patrice Bergeron scored for them in the middle period. Once the B’s got on the board with their best player scoring, they were the better team for the final 40 minutes while outshooting the Sabres by a 28-17 margin. Credit the Bruins for pulling themselves up off the mat and for not sinking down into the muck after another uninspired start, and seeing it through to the end in a game they badly needed against a Buffalo team they should be able to beat. The B’s don’t have many feel-good wins to point to over the last few weeks, but this will be one when you look back on the month of December.
Ryan Spooner has found himself in Claude Julien’s doghouse on plenty of occasions over the years, but he should apply for a “Get Out of Claude’s Doghouse Free” card for a while after scoring two big goals in a must-win game. He stepped up and hammered a Krejci pass from the high slot for the game-winner late in the third period, and then finished things off with the empty net goal in the closing seconds to ice the victory. Spooner finished with two goals and a plus-2 in 17:12 of ice time, and is another underachiever that stepped up when he really needed to on Thursday night.
BY THE NUMBERS
2 – the number of assists for Frank Vatrano in the come-from-behind win for the Bruins over the Sabres. Vatrano had a career total of three assists in the first 42 games of his B’s NHL career.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“We weren’t afraid to lose the game. We wanted to win and we showed it.” – Tuukka Rask to reporters in Buffalo after making 31 saves in a 4-2 win over Buffalo.