Bruins

Early chemistry between Rich Nash and David Krejci is undeniable

Early chemistry between Rich Nash and David Krejci is undeniable

BOSTON – Clearly the Bruins viewed the trade for Rick Nash as a significant upgrade on the right wing among their top-6 forwards.

That’s why you give up a smorgasbord of players, prospects and pucks for a player with no guarantees he’ll be signed on for duty beyond the next couple of months.
  
Nash has been as advertised and then some as a big, skilled and fast-moving 6-foot-4 power forward that’s added size, strength and big time production with three points in three games, and an active 15 shots on net since suiting up and Black and Gold. But just as importantly, the power right winger has brought life and electricity back to David Krejci’s game as well alongside him, and never was that more evident than in the Czech center’s hat trick during Boston’s 8-4 barn-burner on Thursday night over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Krejci has three goals and four points and a plus-2 in the three games since finding instant chemistry with Nash, and Jake DeBrusk on the other wing has three points and a plus-5 rating over that span as well. Compare that with the modest three goals and five points that Krejci had over the previous 14 games prior to the deadline, and it’s clear that once again a big-bodied skilled winger has brought out the best in Boston’s playmaking pivot.

To say it’s been instant chemistry between Krejci and Nash would be an understatement, and it really begins to build the excitement level of what they could do when everybody is healthy and making that final Bruins push for, and then into, the playoffs.

“[Nash] is a great player. I’m obviously happy to be on his line. We had a good game so hopefully we can build on that, and be even better next game,” said Krejci. “He’s good. He took the puck tonight, he’s got a big body and can skate really well so trying to get a feel of what he can do and try to find that spot, and get an idea of where he puts the puck. So it’s getting better. He’s a world class player and he’s shown that over the last couple of games.”

Just as he enjoyed his greatest success with power forward bookends like Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla beside him, Krejci is doing very much the same thing with a guy that’s got over 400 goals and 800 points in his career.

“David had some of his best years here playing with Looch [Milan Lucic] and [Nathan] Horton and [Jarome] Iginla, so he is used to having big, heavy guys who will get to the net,” said Bruce Cassidy. “[It’s] no disrespect to Ryan Spooner because we asked him to do something out of his comfort zone. I thought he did a good job. But, we said this before – he wasn’t going to grow six inches here.

“Jake is doing a good job with that. He has a lot of Nash’s attributes – not as big a man, obviously, but he does like to get to the net, and he has good foot speed. [Krejci] now got two wingers that have some similar traits that he seems to excel with. Nash is a good defensive player, so he will help whoever centerman he is with, kill some plays in the zone because of his reach and his hockey IQ. It’s been a good marriage so far.”

Nash and Krejci really only showed the chemistry on one of the three goals on the night for No. 46 with Nash bombing down the right wing, a backhanded saucer pass to the net that Krejci slammed through Casey DeSmith on the way to the Bruins first goal of the game. It was a big response score from the Black and Gold 1:45 into the first period after Pittsburgh had scored early, and it sent a message to the Penguins that the Bruins weren’t planning on rolling over and dying with Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup.

Nash and Krejci both did the rest of their offensive damage on the power play on Thursday night in a big revival effort for the man advantage, and both players were crashing the front of the net. That wasn’t a reflection on the way that duo played 5-on-5 in the game, however, as they continued to show all kinds of possibilities.

Sometimes it can take weeks (or not ever) for players to build chemistry together on a line, and there are some players that will never gel together no matter how long they’ve played beside each other. Then there are players like Krejci and Nash that were seemingly built for each other, and innately show that ability to complement each other from the very first moments they’re skating as linemates. Time will tell how good they can be, and whether Nash is a longtime partner for Krejci or simply another in a long line of power forward-types that enjoyed success with him.

But it’s clear that the Bruins second line is much more dynamic and dangerous now than they were prior to the deadline, and that’s all about Chemistry 101 between Krejci and Nash that couldn’t be better as the Bruins continue rounding into playoff shape.   

Highlights from the Bruins' 2-1 win over Coyotes

bruins.jpg
AP Photo

Highlights from the Bruins' 2-1 win over Coyotes

FINAL SCORE:  Bruins 2, Coyotes 1

FROM JOE HAGGERTY

1. Nice bounce-back from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson on Saturday as the rookie center scored the game’s first goal after crashing the net and popping him the rebound of a Noel Acciari wraparound shot. JFK had been quiet in the last couple of games while still centering the kid line with Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen, but he was energized after getting matched with the hard-hitting Acciari on his line. It’s the first career NHL game for the rookie as he’s still trying to lock down the third line center job with the Bruins.

2. Jake DeBrusk scored again on Saturday night in Arizona, and now has five goals and seven points in the last seven games. The second-year forward is another winger that looks energized by the new line combination while playing early in the game with Brad Marchand and Joakim Nordstrom in a truly new-look forward line due to the Patrice Bergeron injury. One good thing for DeBrusk is that he’s been able to produce and score no matter where he’s been put in the lineup and we’re seeing that now.  

3. The Bruins managed just three shots on net and maybe one or two scoring chances for the entire second period. Bruins fans better get used to it because the B’s coaching staff clearly couldn’t just roll out lines as they’ve done in the past because they’re missing their entire top-4 defensemen pairings and missing their two best defenders in Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. Instead, it’s more of a “[Proceed with Caution] with all the injuries it’s about scrapping for goals early, locking things down offensively while playing a conservative shutdown mode and then hanging on for dear life while generating little offense. 

BOX SCORE.

BRUINS RECORD: 11-6-3

HIGHLIGHTS:

JFK'S FIRST CAREER GOAL 

DEBRUSK MAKES IT 2-0

COYOTES RESPOND

UP NEXT

WEDNESDAY: at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)

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Dustin Pedroia rocks Bobby Orr jersey at Bruins-Coyotes game in Arizona

Dustin Pedroia rocks Bobby Orr jersey at Bruins-Coyotes game in Arizona

Dustin Pedroia got his Boston sports fix in a convenient place Saturday night.

The Boston Red Sox second baseman, who attended Arizona State and lives in Arizona during the offseason, took advantage of the local hockey team's schedule to watch his Boston Bruins take on the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.

Pedroia showed up in style, too, donning an old-school Bobby Orr jersey to go long with his Sun Devils hat.

Perhaps Ian Kinsler should take notes; after winning a World Series with the Red Sox, the free agent second baseman performed the ceremonial puck drop in Friday's Bruins-Dallas Stars game wearing a Stars jersey.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE