David Krejci

Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

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Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

The Bruins seemed to discover a winning formula on the West Coast. Now the challenge is to keep it going.

It took them more than a month of play in the regular season, but they finally won two games in a row. Anton Khudobin and the B's played strong defense and finally built leads against the Kings and Sharks, and they avoided the kind of soft goal or defensive mistake that has been at the heart of so many of their losses.

Clearly that kind of tight, defensive game is how they're going have to play until they get their full lineup back, and they need plenty of wins. They're currently stuck in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.

"It's always nice to get a couple of wins, especially against tough teams," said David Krejci, who is scoreless but averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time  in the two games since returning from a back injury. "We knew we had some areas of our game that we had to improve, and we still do after the start to the game we had against San Jose. It's nice to get two in a row, and we're focusing on three in [New Jersey]. We're building toward something, and we're on the right track. It's a big game [against the Devils].

"Playing with a lead, playing good defensively and having a good, structured game with everybody buying in . . . when you have a young team and you're playing strong clubs like LA and San Jose, it really says a lot about what we're trying to do here when you can get the job done."

The good news is the Bruins are going to make it through the Thanksgiving marker within shouting distance of a playoff spot, but they're still just scratching the surface of what they need to do to stay relevant in the East. They're hoping that finally reeling off a couple of consecutive wins can start a run of good hockey at a time when they desperately need it.

"I think we've played as a five-man unit" said Kevan Miller. "Forwards are getting back to help the 'D', and defensemen are stepping up to help the forwards. When you play like that and everybody is on the same page, it makes it that much easier. I think everybody, whether you're coming from Providence or you're up here, has played the same systems, but it can be a little bit of a struggle to get everybody on the same page.

"We've done a pretty good job of that, but doing it for 60 minutes has been a bit of an issue. We're trying to work on that."

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Krejci returns to Bruins practice; Marchand, Bjork and Acciari missing

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Krejci returns to Bruins practice; Marchand, Bjork and Acciari missing

BRIGHTON -- After getting on the ice last week, David Krejci has rejoined the Bruins for practice and skated with the team on Monday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. Krejci was wearing the maroon no-contact jersey, but was going through most drills without any obvious problems after missing the last three-plus weeks because of a back problem.

The Bruins are 3-3-3 in the nine games since Krejci exited the lineup, but the power play has truly hit hard times without Krejci, David Backes and Ryan Spooner. Krejci, 31, hadn’t even been able to get on the ice until a few days ago, but his return ahead of a long trip through California is a pretty good sign.

Krejci said that he’ll be on the three-game road swing through California and he aims to return in one of the next three games provided there are no setbacks. 

“It feels pretty good when I’m on the ice, so that’s a good sign,” said Krejci, who has a goal and six points along with a minus-5 in six games this season. “I’m going to go on the trip with the guys, hopefully, I have a good day [on Tuesday] and then we’ll go from there. Hopefully, I can take off the no-contact jersey and do a little battling [in practice] and then we’ll see how it goes.”

“This was the third time in a row that I felt really good on the ice, so hopefully that keeps going. My goal is to [play on the trip]. I’d love to play in the first game, but I can’t really guarantee anything right now.”

On the other side of it, Noel Acciari, Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork were all missing from practice on Monday for a Bruins team that been weathering the injury storm all season.

Marchand played in the past couple of games after missing two games with what the team indicated was a concussion, Acciari had played in the last three games after missing nearly all season with a broken finger. Bjork took a huge hit from Matt Martin at center ice in Saturday night’s loss to the Leafs.  Spooner skated on his own ahead of Bruins practice after missing the last month because of a torn groin, and is nearing the early end of the 4-6 week timetable that he's expected to be sidelined.

So the Bruins are slowly, but surely, getting healthier in the middle, and will certainly welcome back both Krejci and Spooner with the center depth they will provide once they are again healthy enough to play. 

Krejci skates for the first time in nearly three weeks

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Krejci skates for the first time in nearly three weeks

BRIGHTON, Mass – In a bit of forward progress for the Bruins, David Krejci skated for the first time in nearly three weeks at Tuesday’s optional B’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. 

The Bruins playmaking center was mostly skating around on his own, handling the puck and firing a few pucks off the boards while a smattering of teammates held an optional skate, but his mere presence was a positive sign that he’s beginning to respond to his back troubles.

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“He’s back skating,” said Cassidy of Krejci, who has a goal and six points in six games along with a minus. 

“He’s obviously out this week, but this part of the progression for him getting back into the lineup is getting out on the ice and getting his reps.”

Krejci missed his seventh consecutive game Monday night, a victory over the Minnesota Wild, and was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury after being ruled out for the rest of this week. Beyond that, there’s been no timetable set in place for the kind of injury that can be difficult to pin down.

It certainly will be a gradual process for No. 46, but Krejci would be a welcomed addition to a group that’s also missing Ryan Spooner and David Backes down the middle of the ice.

In fact, the Bruins have only had Patrice Bergeron and Krejci together for less than one full game as Krejci exited Boston’s Oct. 19 win over the Vancouver Canucks that also marked Bergeron’s return to the lineup. In other Bruins health news, Noel Acciari continues to practice with the team, will travel on the two-game road trip and could be a possibility to return Friday night against the Maple Leafs. Anton Khudobin appears to be ready to return to backup duty after getting through practice and Ryan Spooner once again skated with the team in a no-contact jersey while still a week or two away from a possible return.

Frank Vatrano, Danton Heinen, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Robbie O’Gara and Paul Postma were among the non-injured players skating Tuesday.