BRIGHTON, Mass – Torey Krug said prior to the game Thursday night against Las Vegas that he’d have to wait and see how much of a difference it would make shedding the protective gear off his helmet with his fractured jaw finally healed.
Well, clearly it was a factor after Krug enjoyed one of his best games of the season in the 2-1 victory at TD Garden. Krug nearly doubled his season point output by assisting on both goals and appeared much more involved in the offensive zone after an uncharacteristically quiet start to the season.
Clearly, there had been some evidence that his game was beginning to turn prior to Thursday night. Krug has three shots on net in his past two games after registering a big, fat donut in the shots on net category in the previous three games.
“[It was] really good. The peripheral vision was better and overall, I just felt more comfortable [shedding the protective gear],” said Krug, who has two goals and five assists in 10 games, along with a minus-7 rating, after his two assists and plus-2 evening vs. Vegas.
“Physically, I missed training camp, a lot of exhibition games. On the mental side of things, you get pretty frustrated because you know how well you can play, but you’re just not playing up to your potential. The stars aren’t lining up for you. It’s a grind both mentally and physically.
“That’s the hope,” added Krug when asked if he was ready to go on an offense-heavy streak now. “I just want to feel good out there…breaking pucks out, feel comfortable with my game. Those little streaks, they’ll come when you feel good about your game.”
The first period certainly wasn’t Krug’s best as he still battled a couple of turnovers against the Vegas pressure, but he turned those early “burps”, as Bruce Cassidy called them, into smart, aggressive plays around the net in the latter two periods. For both goals, it was hard, accurate shots from Krug that forced Vegas goalie Maxime Lagace into scrambling saves and eventually set up the dirty work goals from Riley Nash and Sean Kuraly.
That’s exactly the kind of thing that the Bruins are going to need from Krug over the next stretch as they battle through a number of injuries that have significantly weakened them down the middle of the ice.
“I think [the facemask] hinders a person – especially a guy that plays a finesse game,” Cassidy said. “You’re not used to having that on there. It’s a reminder that you’re protecting an injury. You know, there’s enough going on the ice that you don’t need those reminders. So, probably [now] in the back of his mind, ‘okay, I’m healed, I’m even more prepared to play.’ I think he’s been coming out of his [funk]…his game has been coming around anyway. For the most part, it’s been solid.
“There have been a couple of burps here and there that we weren’t able to get out from under in terms of just tough luck, to a certain extent. We didn’t get a save or we didn’t get a clear after or whatever. So, I think for the most part he’s been managing the puck well, making his plays, and starting to feel like Torey again. [His game vs. Vegas] was good. We need his offense, especially now since we’re a little bit depleted. If he can add some secondary scoring like he generally does then we will be that much better.”
Thursday night was Grade-A evidence of that as Krug played a major role in the two goals required to get the two points against a gritty, competitive Vegas bunch that wasn’t going to go away easily.