Krejci playing like an energized kid surrounded by Bruins youth

Krejci playing like an energized kid surrounded by Bruins youth

BRIGHTON, Mass.  – All of the chatter right after the Bruins opening night win was on the B’s young guns, and rightfully so given the way they all performed in the NHL spotlight for the first time.


But there were several veteran Bruins who stepped up in the 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators, perhaps none more so than playmaking center David Krejci, 31, who had ups and downs last season in a year that ended with him injured in the playoffs. He began this season racking up three assists while playing nearly 22 minutes of ice time.

He was at the center of the transition play that netted Jake DeBrusk his first NHL goal and again it was Krejci dropping things back to Charlie McAvoy for the wind-up blast for his first NHL score as well. It certainly seemed like Krejci was just as energized as the young players around him, and feeling like a kid among the rookie prospects breaking through for Boston.

“I feel good, excited. If you look back a few years ago and now it’s a totally different team. [There are] lots of young guys. So it’s a lot of good, fast players and so it’s fun to play with them,” said Krejci, who geared his summer workout program toward getting lighter and faster while knowing the B’s would be playing at a high pace this season. “The game’s changing. Everyone was working on it in the summer to get ready for a high, high-paced game. That’s what I did. I feel pretty good today. But I’ve got to keep working hard on it all through the season because those guys are pretty fast. I need to keep myself in shape to keep up.”

By midway through the game, Krejci was centering Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk as the best line on the ice, and he was in the midst of winning 17 of 22 face-offs while stepping up with Patrice Bergeron (lower body) out of the lineup. It was a very encouraging sign that Krejci could be in store for a vintage season with talent all around him that can finish off some of the plays that he’s typically setting up on any given night.

“David [Krejci] has always been good on [the draw] and he really dug in tonight. Loved his effort, his commitment, killed penalties, took D-zone draws as a match-up guy, power-play guy, all positives and we needed him to step up,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “We lost two key guys that we expected to have, so good for him. Listen, this guy is a competitor, Krech, and he wants that responsibility so that’s a good sign for us.”

The hope is that Bergeron might be back on Monday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche, so some of the burden on Krejci’s shoulders will lighten as the Bruins get a little healthier. But it’s also reassuring to know that Krejci looks primed and ready for a strong, in-his-prime season now that he’s fully healthy and more than a year removed from hip surgery. 

B's not anticipating any Game 6 availability issues with Bergeron

B's not anticipating any Game 6 availability issues with Bergeron

BOSTON – It looks like Patrice Bergeron made it through his Game 5 return without any pressing issues or lingering problems that should limit his availability for the last couple of potential games in the best-of-seven series with the Maple Leafs.

Bergeron topped 20 minutes of ice time in the 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs in Saturday night’s Game 5 at TD Garden, and had six shots on net, 10 shot attempts, three hits and won 16-of-25 face-offs while being held without any points. There were times where No. 37 looked like he was playing through a little bit of pain, but the numbers certainly don’t back that up as he was still very strong even if he was less than 100 percent. 

“I won’t project past Game 6. He made it through [the Game 5 loss] healthy and he finished the game,” said Bruce Cassidy on Saturday night following Game 5. “You always want to see how they are in the morning. I don’t anticipate there will be any issues going into Game 6. Of course, that could change, but that’s the way it is right now.”

Bruce Cassidy indicated after Saturday night’s loss that Bergeron, who has five assists and a plus-3 rating in four games vs. the Leafs, finished the game without issue, and further said at Sunday’s chat with the media that he wasn’t expecting health issues would cause any lineup changes for Monday night’s very important Game 6 in Toronto. Bergeron was also spotted at Warrior Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon and certainly looked no worse for the wear, so the B’s aren’t bracing for any last minute scratches in a heavy duty playoff game on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre. 

“We’ll reassess on [Monday] morning when guys go back on the ice health-wise,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Sometimes they feel good today and then they get on the ice…I don’t anticipate much going on health-wise, but we went up to Toronto [earlier this week] and one game Bergeron didn’t play and then Grzelcyk in another one. So [a change in the lineup] could happen.” 

That would indicate Bergeron came through Saturday night’s heavy workload without any further issues, and that perhaps he’s over the hump with whatever upper-body injury caused him to miss a game in the middle of the series. That’s a great sign with the Black and Gold in serious need of all hands on deck for another chance to eliminate the Maple Leafs on Monday night in Toronto.


Morning Skate: Kadri's presence makes difference for Leafs in Game 5

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Kadri's presence makes difference for Leafs in Game 5

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while spring appears to finally be arriving in Boston.


*Some solid war stories from the NHL penalty box compiled by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt at Sports Illustrated.


*Keeping an eye on the Tampa Bay Lightning, and rookie D-man Mikhail Sergachev is enjoying a strong playoff series for the Bolts as they advanced past the New Jersey Devils this weekend.


*Nazem Kadri definitely helped make a difference for the Maple Leafs in Game 5 at the Garden, and Toronto is going to need more of that if they’re going to force a Game 7.


*The Philadelphia Flyers are finally ratcheting up some drama with the Penguins in their first-round series.


*Good memories from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Goucher out in Vegas as he talks about Gil Santos at the time of the New England sports legend’s passing this week.


*For something completely different: When you’re writing think pieces about Adam Sandler, it may be time to reevaluate things.