David Krejci

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

screen_shot_2018-04-19_at_12.39.30_am.png
USA TODAY Sports Photo

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

TORONTO – The Bruins top line totaled up 20 points in the first two games, and the B’s took both of those against the Maple Leafs. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had zero points in Game 3 on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre, and the Bruins ended up dropping that game to the Leafs. 

So clearly the Bruins’ playoff fate could be strongly tied to the ebbs and flow of their top forward trio, but the hope with the B’s is that the formula won’t be that simple throughout the postseason. A big part of the reason the Bruins gave up a boatload to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash was to acquire another forward capable of shouldering a scoring load, and turn Boston’s second line into a much more dangerous group. 

All three members of the B’s second line, David Krejci, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk, all have goals during the best-of-seven series, but they also came up empty in Game 3 with Krejci and DeBrusk only managing two shots on net between them. They know that they’re capable of more given the offensive talent on the ice, and given that so much defensive attention is being paid to neutralizing Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak rather than them. 

“We had lots of good looks. I missed a couple. We had lots of good looks that just didn’t go in,” said Krejci. “So we need to work extra harder [in Game 4] to bury those chances and have them end up in the back of the net. We need to stick to the game plan and respect the game plan.”

MORE BRUINS:

Nash had five shots on net and some pretty good chances, but the best scoring chance was a DeBrusk dangle and pass to Krejci wide open at the net. It looked like the puck hit a rut on the ice and Krejci was never able to settle it down for a shot despite the nice-looking pass, so that line is left biding their team for another chance to carry the offense. 

“I think that’s the main reason why we’re the second line. We all have attributes that can help this team. It hasn’t really come to the table yet, but I still thought that we generated chances [in Game 3], and I think our whole team did. It just wasn’t bouncing our way,” said DeBrusk. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time you take the positives from it. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to get harder from here on in. Hopefully our top line does their thing, but if not then we’ll be ready to hopefully help out in that category.”

The Bruins top line is ready, willing and able to shoulder the lion’s share of the scoring burden for the Black and Gold, and most nights they’re going to be able to live up to that kind of responsibility. But if the Bruins want to beat the good defensive teams and become a much more difficult team to play against in the postseason, they’re going to need to start getting production from a second line that should be built to play the power, puck possession game in the postseason.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bruins show why power play is a game-changer for them

Bruins show why power play is a game-changer for them

BOSTON – The Bruins power play was on fire in the final six weeks of the regular season and that is one thing that has completely carried over into the playoffs. 

Buoyed by the trade acquisitions of Rick Nash and Nick Holden and the signing of Ryan Donato from Harvard, along with the talented crew they started with, the Bruins scored on 24 of 69 power plays (35 percent) in March and April while pounding teams with their electric special teams play.

Couple that with the three-power play goals in their 5-1 win over the Maple Leafs in Game 1 on Thursday night, and the Bruins are holding a distinct special-teams advantage over just about everybody they play. 

The wrinkle in Game 1 was that Boston’s second PP unit, led by David Krejci, Charlie McAvoy and David Backes, actually kicked in two of the three power-play goals, but both units kicked in a goal in the first two periods to give the Bruins a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. On the other end, the Bruins penalty kill survived two Toronto power plays in the second period as special teams really proved to be the difference.

“Ultimately [special teams] was the difference. Clearly, in the first half of the game, you don’t know how it’s going to play out at the end. They took a major [in the third], so that obviously forces you on the kill and expend a lot of energy defending as opposed to scoring,” said Bruce Cassidy. “When you’re behind, that’s a problem. But, early in the game, I thought our kill was good. We got some breaks around the net. Looked like there were some pucks there that could have went either way. I know Adam McQuaid saved one and a couple of good sticks there, and Tuukka [Rask] some big saves.

“So, we got through it. Then our power play, we had a good entry and Marchy made a good play [on the first goal]. We had a lot of speed on the entry and that’s what you need against this kill. Then Krech [David Krejci] made a good low play and we finished around the net. That can be a little bit of a difference; we finished one, they didn’t. So it goes the other way, you don’t know how the end is going to be. From there I thought we were a good team, played the right way, and we were able to bring it home.”

That was one of the great things about each of the power play strikes; they were all different flavors. The first was a high-speed Torey Krug rush where he feathered a pass through Leafs defenders to Marchand for the top shelf, backhanded finish, and then in the second period, it was Backes mucking it up in front to smash home a Krejci centering pass for the ultimate game-winning goal.

Finally, in the third with Nazem Kadri done for the night after charging Tommy Wingels in a dangerous, dirty play, Krejci banked one off Frederik Andersen from a bad angle to put the game out of reach while making Toronto pay for their insolence.

It may be difficult for the Leafs coaching staff to break down what needs to be fixed on the PK when the B’s power-play goals were coming in all shapes and sizes.

“The power play was huge for us. The first goal in the first game is always the hardest. We were able to get one in the PP and it was huge for us,” said David Pastrnak. “Great play by Torey [Krug] and Marchy [Brad Marchand]. It was huge. Overall, special teams was good for us tonight. And that played a big part in us winning the game.”

The power play has played a big part in Boston winning games all season and it would appear that is going to be the same song, different verse for the Black and Gold now that the Stanley Cup playoffs are underway.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bruins bully the Maple Leafs 5-1 in first game of series

Bruins bully the Maple Leafs 5-1 in first game of series

BOSTON – The Bruins had been saying all along that their five game regular season struggle in April wasn’t going to bleed over into the playoffs.

They went out and proved in Game 1 against the Maple Leafs by scoring early and often against a sketchy Leafs defense and goaltending combo, and ended up with a convincing 5-1 win over Toronto at TD Garden to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

By the third period, the TD Garden faithful was chanting “Andersen” and mocking the Leafs goalie after he coughed up his fifth goal of the night.

The Bruins stormed into the game with all kinds of energy and passion, and it never really abated for more than a few minutes at the end of the first. Brad Marchand scored on the power play after a nifty Torey Krug rush to snap a 16-game scoreless playoff drought at TD Garden, and that ignited the Black and Gold at the game’s start.

It was one of three power play goals for the Black and Gold on the night as they throttled the Maple Leafs with their superior special teams play.

The Leafs stormed back in the second half of the first period with a Zach Hyman goal where he sped past David Krejci and Charlie McAvoy before depositing the puck past Tuukka Rask. The Bruins managed to hold on through the rest of a “meh” first period after Toronto’s goal, but got their groove back in the middle 20 minutes.

David Backes scored on a power play goal right in front of the net after outmuscling Ron Hainsey for the David Krejci centering pass, and then David Pastrnak smoked a wrist shot from the high slot past Andersen for an insurance marker. The Bruins extended that lead in the third period when playoff performer Sean Kuraly hammered home the rebound of a David Pastrnak rush that was initially stopped with a great Andersen glove save.

It went from competitive hockey game to laugher later in the third when Nazem Kadri was bounced from the game for a dirty charging hit on a vulnerable Tommy Wingels, and David Krejci banked one in off Andersen’s back on the ensuing power play.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE