BOSTON – It’s been well-documented that the Bruins top-6 forwards have struggled during five-on-five play in the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues. None of the top six guys have any even-strength points in the series, and second-line center David Krejci has been completely shut out in the first four games of the series headed into Thursday night’s Game 5 against the Blues at TD Garden.
In fact, the two power-play assists for Jake DeBrusk ae the line’s only production in the series to this point and it’s something that hasn’t gone unnoticed with the Bruins coaching staff.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed with the players on the Krejci line either.
“I think it goes to mindset. There are things they’re doing well and you’ve got to give them credit with how they play 5-on-5,” said DeBrusk. “But it’s also our mindset on the ice and thinking more about attacking the net, and doing the things that we need to do to generate [offense]. Obviously we’re focusing on that tonight.
“This time of year the margins are thin and things are amplified in each game. We’d like to get on the board. It’s about getting looks and making sure that we score on those.”
It didn’t look like there were going to be any big changes up front headed into Game 5 with both Matt Grzelcyk and Zdeno Chara both appearing like they are going to play for the Bruins.
So it will be up to DeBrusk, Krejci and David Backes to do something different than what’s played out in the first four games, and Bruce Cassidy hoped it would include a more aggressive, spread out plan of attack through the neutral zone.
“They had a little bit of a session yesterday to try to kind of revisit why they were successful at times against Columbus or Toronto, previous opponents. How they get them to be more effective against how St. Louis plays also matters,” said Cassidy. “I think when they’re supporting the puck originally against St. Louis, because they’re long, they get there in a hurry, so you have to outnumber them in a hurry then.
“[You] try to spread out, not the opposite, that’s what we’ve found anyway. We can’t get too far. Our spacing has to be good, tight early, then start spacing once you separate to start making those east-west plays in the O-zone. I think just to have more of an attack mentality coming out through the neutral zone supporting one another and how to find common ground with each other.”
The hope that some meetings and some discussion changes something with the second line headed into Game 5. It’s all hands on deck and they need something from a player in Krejci who's always been a big game performer, and the rest of his line as well.
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