BOSTON — David Krejci said he still had work to do after sitting out the last couple of weeks with an upper body injury, but the casual observer wouldn’t have been able to tell after his rousing return against the San Jose Sharks.
Krejci scored the game-winning power-play goal in the first period and enjoyed his first multi-point effort of the year in returning from injury and helping power the Bruins to a 5-1 win over the Sharks at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
After just one point in his first five games played of the season between injuries, Krejci doubled that output in victory, showed he was healthy and looked uncommonly sharp in getting the Bruins back into their proper slotting down the middle with his return as the No. 2 center. It was exactly what the Bruins have needed as they look to get more secondary scoring, and no coincidence that forwards from each of Boston’s four lines cracked the goal-scoring column in the win.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen [because] there’s a little catch-up involved. I’m sure he’ll go through that. Good thing for him is he’ll get a few more days now to sort of get his legs back under him and the schedule’s a little bit favorable for a guy coming back that way,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Good for him. Listen, we need him going. We know that, and it’s good to get off on the right foot [in his return].
“That’s what we want him to do, because there’s going to be nights that Bergy [Patrice Bergeron], that line is going to get neutralized. It doesn’t look that way right now, but we know it’s going to happen. Then you need some other guys going — now you get [Charlie] Coyle, now, that’s two games in a row he’s been all over the puck. All of a sudden, you’ve got three lines that are a threat to score. And you’ve got your fourth line that you know is going to give you quality minutes, so things are shaping up [for us] up front.”
The good news for Krejci and the Bruins is that he should just keep improving, particularly if he can find a constant at right wing. Jake DeBrusk will be on the left side and it was Danton Heinen on the right side on Tuesday night with Brett Ritchie also still in the mix for that spot. Neither of those players is likely to be the 30-goal finisher that Krejci was in his golden days, but it should be plenty good enough when Krejci has it going like he did against the Sharks.
The power play strike was a one-timer from the face-off dot off a slick point dish from Torey Krug, and his second period assist was a crisp, tape-to-tape pass that found Coyle open and waiting at the backdoor. When it was all done, Krejci had a goal, two points, a plus-1 rating, six shot attempts, three takeaways and went -for-10 in the face-off circle in 19:19 of ice time while No. 46 is beginning to make up for lost time.
“It was just great to be out there with the guys,” said Krejci. “There were some shifts where I felt good and there were shifts where I had the puck on my stick and I just lost it. Nobody was around me and I just lost it. But that’s understandable and I’m sure that will come back. So there was some good stuff and some not-so-good, but definitely some stuff to build off of for sure.”
Now Krejci simply needs to stay healthy so that the Bruins can begin moving ahead with the forward plan they had in mind before the season started, and the injuries began to crop up.
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