Bruins

Torey Krug has found his sweet groove

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Torey Krug has found his sweet groove

After going scoreless in the first five games in the month of January, Torey Krug has jumped back into his offensive groove.

Krug has a goal and five points in his last three games, and fired home the game-winner in last weekend’s win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre amidst a three-point effort against the Habs. It’s been an interesting time of adjustment for Krug as he’s topped 20 minutes of ice time just once in eight games this month, and has at times not been out on the ice with the Patrice Bergeron line when they’re doing their thing.  

Krug has also been digging himself out from the minus-9 in the first month of the season after coming back from a fractured jaw, and the plus-7 this month finally has him in the positive plus/minus rating as well for the first time this season.

“He’s a guy that sees [Matt] Grzelcyk playing well, and he wants to be a part of it,” said Bruce Cassidy of Krug. “Some of it is that I think, in my experience with him and I haven’t had him forever, with Torey that he gets better as the year goes along. This year the injuries led to that with the broken jaw, so he had a little bit of a setback and was playing catch-up. Part of it now is that he’s getting more comfortable, and as the year goes on he’s getting better.”

Krug is still on pace for 13 goals and 51 points this season, so he’s right on time for normal offensive production while working with a different D-man partner in young Brandon Carlo this season. But mixing in a game like Saturday night when he’s got three points, a game-winning goal and a plus-3 rating is a clear sign that he’s playing some of his best hockey of the year.

“You play with [the Bergeron Line] and you’re pretty lucky…you’re probably going to have a lot more chances for, and not many chances against,” said Krug. “It’s nice because [defenses] are so focused on shutting those three guys down that the fourth ‘D’ can get in on the attack and make something out of nothing. We were able to do that [against Montreal].

“It’s one of things where you just keep going to work and getting better every day, you put your head down and don’t listen to anything. It all falls into place for you, and I’m just going to keep doing that.”

So many of Boston’s best players, both veteran and rookie, have been playing their best hockey during the Bruins two-month run toward the top of the standings. After the last handful of games for the offensive defenseman, you can add Krug to that long list of B’s players now operating at full tilt. 

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Krejci snaps tie late in 3rd, Bruins rally past Oilers 3-2

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Krejci snaps tie late in 3rd, Bruins rally past Oilers 3-2

David Krejci broke a tie with 1:04 remaining and the Boston Bruins rallied for three goals in the third period to beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Noel Acciari and Matt Grzelcyk also scored for the Bruins (37-13-8), who have won seven of nine and are one point back of Tampa Bay for first place in the Atlantic Division and overall NHL standings.

Ryan Strome and Jujhar Khaira had the goals for the Oilers (24-31-4), who have lost seven of eight.

The Oilers scored the game's first goal with 1:31 left in the opening period - despite being outshot 13-2 to that point - when Strome beat Boston goalie Anton Khudobin on a 2-on-1 break for his ninth of the season.

The Bruins came close five minutes into the second when David Pastrnak's shot clanged off the post behind Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot, but instead the Oilers extended their lead just more than six minutes later when a knuckler by Khaira beat Khudobin up high.

The shots favored the Bruins 29-14 through 40 minutes.

Boston got on the board 4:37 into the third when Acciari swung a puck in front of the Edmonton net and it bounced off Strome and in to make it 2-1.

The Bruins tied it with eight minutes to play after a flurry in front led to Grzelcyk putting the puck past a diving Talbot.

Boston completed the comeback with just 64 seconds to play in the third, after the Oilers lost control of the puck in their own end. Danton Heinen sent the puck out in front, allowing Krejci to score his 11th of the season.

NOTES: It was the second and final meeting this season between the teams. The Oilers took the first game 4-2 in Boston on Nov. 26. ... Oilers defenseman Kris Russellplayed his 700th NHL game. ... The Bruins acquired D Nick Holden from the New York Rangers for minor league defenseman Rob O'Gara and their third-round pick in this year's draft. Holden was not in Edmonton in time for the game.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Saturday at Toronto.

Oilers: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

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Talking points: Noel Acciari's goal helps inspire comeback

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Talking points: Noel Acciari's goal helps inspire comeback

GOLD STAR: Zdeno Chara didn’t factor into the scoring for the Bruins, but the 6-foot-9, 40-year-old captain was massive against the Oilers in his role as a shutdown performer. Chara was locked up with Connor McDavid throughout the 60 minutes of regulation play, and it was that constant attention being paid by Big Zee that helped keep the Edmonton wunderkind under wraps with just a couple of shots on net. Above and beyond the simple, vital defensive shutdown work for the Bruins that goes without saying, Chara set the tone physically as well with team-highs in registered hits (five) and blocked shots (five) in his 22:39 of ice time. He finished a plus-1, wasn’t scored on and instead continued to draw energy and enthusiasm doing his defensive work even though it was the second end of a back-to-back fairly late in the season. 

BLACK EYE: Leon Draisaitl had to know that he was in for a battle against the Bruins based on their center strength down the middle, and he clearly came up on the short end of the stick along with his Oilers. Draisaitl finished with no shots on net, a couple of giveaways and not much else going on aside from going 12-for-26 in a face-off performance that wasn’t very good either. Draisaitl is counted on to be a big time player for the Oilers and team with Connor McDavid as a 1-2 punch carrying them on offense when things aren’t going well. That didn’t happen with Edmonton’s German import and the rest of an Oilers group. Once again, they fell short after building up and holding a two-goal lead for most of the game. Things would have been much better for the Oil if Draisaitl could have finished off an offensive play or two on an evening where it was all hands on deck against the Bruins. 

TURNING POINT: It was all about Noel Acciari finally breaking through in the third period with his high effort goal, and that stirred everything else into gear as everybody suddenly started believing in the comeback. That turned into three unanswered goals in the third period that led the Bruins to the two points. Acciari motored down the wing, fired a shot at the net and gathered his own rebound behind the net before wrapping it inside the post on the opposite side for his first score in a while since battling injuries over the last few weeks. That bit of fourth line opportunistic offense really started things percolating with the Bruins offense, and led to a couple more goals from a Boston bunch that refused to lose once again.  

HONORABLE MENTION: Give it up for David Krejci stepping up in the final minutes and scoring the game-winning goal as he stepped up to finish off a great play that started with both Danton Heinen and David Backes. Krejci finished with a goal in 17:23 of ice time, three shots on net, a registered hit and 8-of-13 face-off wins in a solid night, but he really seemed to flourish when Bruce Cassidy switched him out with Riley Nash for a bit of a third period spark. That’s when Backes and Heinen responded to playing with No. 46, and ultimately teamed up for the game-winner after Nash had set up the game-tying goal with his new linemates in Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Spooner. Take a bow for those line changes in the third period down by a couple of goals, Bruce Cassidy!

BY THE NUMBERS: 142 – the fewest goals allowed in the NHL this season is something proudly carried around this season, and it’s really not even close with Nashville as the next team with 154 goals allowed this season. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’ll have to see how quickly he really adapts to our system, and then go from there.” –Bruce Cassidy to reporters in Edmonton, when asking how long it will be for newly traded D-man Nick Holden to get in the lineup for the Bruins.