BOSTON – The Bruins aren’t going anywhere if they don’t find a way to reap consistent production from their normally bountiful second line, powered by David Krejci.
It’s always been a productive trio when No. 46 is healthy, confident and operating at every gear in his offensive arsenal. It’s been pretty close to the equal of Patrice Bergeron’s line when the Bruins have been at their very best.
So, it was an encouraging development to watch Krejci truly begin to synch with rugged forward David Backes for actual, real-live offense in a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden.
The Bruins second line accounted for two of the five goals and every line scored except for the prolific top group of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak. Krejci and his line were dominating puck possession in the Blue Jackets zone, while wearing out the Columbus defenders. That’s when Krejci set up Torey Krug for his long point blast to get the Bruins on the scoreboard in the first period.
It was a sight for the Bruins’ goal-deprived eyes to see that group able to start breaking through after exhibiting signs that an offensive binge was coming in recent games.
“I think it’s coming around, you know you got some of those lines – David Krejci with David Backes back and David [Krejci] is finding his stride as well,” said Claude Julien. “They have been a better line obviously. Ryan [Spooner] was good tonight.”
Krejci notched his second primary assist of the night in the second period when he and Ryan Spooner harassed rookie D-man Zach Werenski into a turnover in his own end and the playmaking center fed Backes in the slot for a textbook goal scorer’s wrist shot past Curtis McElhinney.
It hadn’t really happened at all through the first month of the season because of both injuries and ineffectiveness, but a line saddled with great expectations finally seems to be getting things going after that slow period of building things up.
“I think my line in particular is trending in a great direction. I think you’re seeing Ryan Spooner with a lot more confidence. He’s using his great assets, which is his speed and his ability to make plays. Krech’s vision and ability to kind of control the ice and make things happen at his speed [is vital]. And I get in somebody’s way and am able to hopefully get open and find the back of the net,” said Backes, who scored his first goal since his two-goal outburst opening night, also against the Blue Jackets. “I think we’ve had a ton of shots and a ton of chances in the last two games and got rewarded with a couple tonight there and, you know, that confidence seems to be something that will build.
“We’ll come out firing in Phoenix [Saturday] when we get there and you know, need to continue to be positive contributors to wins rather than, you know, the opposite side of the coin, which we’ve felt. I think that boosted us to give a little but more and find that chemistry. It’s coming along, you know, a lot more talk out there which simplifies and expedites some plays and the result is that it’s not a surprise that we’re turning in the right direction.”
It’s certainly not a surprise that Krejci, Backes and Spooner are finally operating at a level where they’re an offensive factor on the ice, but it was a bit of a longtime coming for a Bruins team that needs their production now as much as ever.