Talking Points: Krug elevates his game

Talking Points: Krug elevates his game

Talking Points from the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Red Wings…

GOLD STAR: Torey Krug finished with a goal and three points, a plus-1 rating and ended a 54-game goal-scoring drought with his power play strike in the second period. The Krug goal effectively cinched this game for the Black and Gold, and gave them the necessary cushion once Detroit managed to eventually get on the scoreboard. Krug’s assist on the Brad Marchand goal in the first period was also a huge key, and was part of a high quality 20:14 of ice time that the puck-moving defenseman put together. Krug has been solid most of the year for the B’s, but on Thursday night he elevated his play to a higher plane in a game that Boston had to have.

BLACK EYE: Normally a huge factor in these kinds of games, Justin Abdelkader didn’t seem to have a lot in the tank against the Bruins. He finished with a minus-2 rating, had a completely empty score sheet aside from one hit in 15:05 of ice time and wasn’t a factor around the front of the Boston net during offensive possessions. This kind of performance lends to the idea that the Red Wings didn’t have their skating legs for much of the second half of this game, and that the Bruins did a nice job of building a quick lead early that closed the walls in around Detroit.

TURNING POINT: For the Bruins, it was the first two goals of the game in the first three minutes of the game. David Pastrnak got behind the Detroit defense to score the first one, and then Brad Marchand followed with his 37th of the season little more than a minute later to get the Bruins off and running. That allowed the Bruins to withstand some of the pushes that the Red Wings threw at them earlier in the game, and build on the lead in the second period when Torey Krug sizzled a short side blast past Jimmy Howard to make it a three-goal lead. For a rested Bruins team playing against a weary Red Wings bunch, it was exactly the proper recipe for victory.

HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand finished with a goal, two points and a plus-1 rating, and really played with the fire and energy you’d expect from one of the best players on the Bruins roster in a “must have” kind of game. Marchand finished with four shots on net, five shot attempts, two hits and a blocked shot in his 16:47 of ice time, scored the second goal of the day for the Bruins as they made a big push early in the game, and then nearly fell down he was so pumped to celebrate after the dynamic start for his team. On a day when the B’s needed their best players to step up Marchand obliged in a big way.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 – The number of 30 goal-scorers for the Bruins after Loui Eriksson reached the 30-goal mark with his score at the start of the third period. He joined Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, and became the first Bruins team with three 30-goal scorers since the 2002-03 B’s edition with Joe Thornton, Glenn Murray and Mike Knuble.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s important that we kind of bottle up that and bring the same kind of game here on Saturday. We want to give ourselves a chance. We’ve got to rely on some breaks here or there. We have to be focused and kind of bring that same kind of game to give ourselves the best chance possible.” –Claude Julien, on what the Bruins need to do after Thursday’s win to better their playoff chances. 

NHL still debating possible discipline on Schenn-Krejci collision

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NHL still debating possible discipline on Schenn-Krejci collision

The NHL Department of Player Safety is still debating if supplemental discipline is needed for the Blues'  Brayden Schenn for the violent hit he delivered to the Bruins' David Krejci in the B's 2-1 overtime loss in St. Louis on Wednesday night. 

In the second period, Schenn clobbered David Krejci in the corner with a punishing hit to the head as the B’s playmaking center was facing him immediately after releasing the puck. Schenn was whistled for a two-minute minor for charging at the time of the collision, but luckily Krejci was able to remain in the game and played 15:54 of ice time in the loss.

Upon further review, it was very clearly a big, heavy hit delivered to Krejci’s head, but there were plenty of mitigating factors. Krejci had his head down until the last second while looking down at the puck on his stick and was hunched over as Schenn moved in to deliver a check on a player eligible to be hit. Schenn’s skates left the ice to finish the hit after impact, which made the collision look even worse to the casual observer, but that isn’t considered launching into a hit by the NHL’s standards.

Adding to the equation is that Schenn has been suspended twice by the NHL before, three games in 2016 for a charging hit on TJ Oshie and one game back in 2013.

Clearly, it’s a difficult call for the league as they try to deter hits to the head and reduce the number of concussions. Still, this would appear to be another situation where, as the league says, a player “assumed a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable." It’s absolutely similar to the Patrick Hornqvist/Charlie McAvoy hit from a few weeks ago that never ended up with any supplemental discipline for the Penguins hard-hitter despite plenty of hue and cry from the Bruins fans.

So what does everybody else think about this hit, and whether or not Schenn should be facing discipline from the NHL as a result of it?


Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.