David Krejci

Krejci relishes his chance to produce with Bruins' top line

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Krejci relishes his chance to produce with Bruins' top line

BOSTON – All it took was a move up to the Bruins' top line in place of the injured Patrice Bergeron to ignite David Krejci’s offense and playmaking abilities.

Krejci finished with three assists in a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night and is riding a four-game point streak with two goals and seven points since getting installed with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak last week in the loss to Tampa Bay.

“It’s been fun. Those are two world-class players, so I’m just happy to be on that line and happy to help the team win [some] games,” said Krejci, who has four goals and 23 points in 30 games this season. “I’m just going to try to be in the right time at the right place, so you know, they make things happen. [It’s] so much fun playing with those guys. So [I’m] just filling in for Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and happy I can help the team win games.”

Before then, the Bruins were trying to get by with Colby Cave, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson or Joakim Nordstrom in between the two star scorers and there were mixed results with each of them.

Once it was clear something wasn’t right with the health of Jake DeBrusk, however, it became inevitable that B’s would create a super line with Marchand, Krejci and Pastrnak. And it’s coincided with the B's offense enjoying some of their best scoring games since Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron went down with injuries.

“Obviously it took a couple games, but, you know, today all we needed to do was drive to the net with [David Krejci]. He’s a great playmaker. It’s been fun tonight,” said Pastrnak, who was then asked if Krejci is a “pass-first” kind of player. “[Krejci] is a pass-first player, pass-second player, [pass] third, and then he shoots type of player.

“Bergy and Marchy like to play fast, and Krech likes to slow it down sometimes, you know, and it’s...both of [those styles] work, you know? Some nights it works better if you play fast and some nights it works better if you play slower. It’s just two star players and it’s been fun tonight, and obviously, it was a big game.”

Certainly, the chemistry is building with two Davids and a Brad Line. That was obvious by the tic-tac-toe passing that led to each of their goals with Marchand finishing on a couple of chances right around the net. The best of the bunch was the dish from Krejci through a couple of defenders to a wide open Marchand, who buried the shot and then was run over by a Coyotes defender far too late to the party.

That’s been part of the challenge the past few games for No. 46 to generate the offense, but also play the two-way game required when centering Marchand and Pastrnak. That means taking the big face-offs late in the game when there isn’t  No. 37 around to do it and pretty much doing whatever is required for the win.

“He slows the game down when he’s allowed to see the game quicker than everyone else, can make those plays when it looks like they’re closing off. He did it tonight, and we needed it,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Let’s face it. We need those guys to be our best players every night and offensively they’ve come through for us as of late. He’s an offensive guy, so when the puck goes in the back of the net and they’re making plays.

“He makes nice plays, creative plays. He’s going to enjoy the game. I’ve noticed in the rest of his game he’s digging in. He knows he has to be a good defensive center for those guys. They’re creative wingers that will leak out of their spots from time to time to anticipate a play. That’s when you have to have a centreman, and that’s when Bergy’s [Patrice Bergeron] so good at putting out those fires.”

Now, it’s Krejci’s job to put out some fires and generate some offense in one of the most coveted gigs in the NHL - centering big-time scorers Marchand and Pastrnak. It’s been so far, so good with nothing but wins and offensive production in each of the three full games that the three forwards have played together since last weekend. 

 

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 win: New top line leads the way

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 win: New top line leads the way

GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand hasn’t been his usual prolific goal-scoring self this season for the Bruins, so scoring a pair of goals in Boston’s second period outburst was a nice bit of productivity for the Nose Face Killah. Marchand scored his first goal on a brilliant cross-ice pass from David Pastrnak where he simply had to redirect it into the net, and then for his second he hung in front until a David Krejci pass could get through traffic and then scored just before he got slammed right in front of the net. In all, Marchand had two goals and three points along with a plus-1 rating in 23:15 of ice time, with six shot attempts and a very solid 4-of-5 performance in the face-off circle. The two goals also pulls Marchand into a tie with Jake DeBrusk for the second-most goals on the team behind the 21 strikes scored by David Pastrnak this season.

BLACK EYE: John Moore ended up having a really rough game for the Bruins tonight against the Coyotes. He’s been mostly solid for the Black and Gold throughout the season, and really doesn’t seem to make a lot of mistakes on the ice with a very simple, effective style of play. But on Arizona’s second goal he tried a backhanded clear from the slot, and it got blocked as the puck stayed in the defensive zone with Arizona on the attack. Eventually a Nick Cousins shot deflected off Moore and past Rask to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead. In the second period it was again Moore that couldn’t handle a puck behind the net, and shuffled it toward Tuukka Rask. The Bruins goalie couldn’t handle it and it ended up leading to another Coyotes goal. Moore finished a minus-2 in 17:12 of ice time with that indicative of some of the struggles he was having on the ice.

TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was scoring four goals in a big bunch that happened in less than five minutes in the second period. The Bruins got goals from Danton Heinen and David Pastrnak that were 33 seconds apart to tie the game in the first few minutes of the second, and then got another two scored in than a two-minute span to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was an encouraging development for a team that has experienced a lot of trouble scoring goals with the injuries taking away some of their best players. The quick strike scoring ability hasn’t been there of late like it was earlier in the year and last season, but perhaps it’s coming back a little bit as the Bruins slowly start to get healthy. Whatever the case, the Coyotes never fully recovered from the stunner slapped on them by the Bruins in the middle stanza.

HONORABLE MENTION: Normally we might give this to David Krejci with his three assists or David Pastrnak scoring his 21st of the season. But instead let’s give credit to David Backes for being one of the ultimate hockey tough guys. The B’s power forward got caught with an Oliver Ekman-Larsson skate blade to the face in the first period that caused Backes to immediately sprint to the dressing room for repairs. There was blood leaking on the ice and big concern given the way the blade sliced through the skin next to his nose. Incredibly Backes was out for the second period stitched up and ready to go, and finished with three shot attempts and three hits in 15:31 of ice time. A team seeing a guy like Backes come right back after a scary skate blade incident is exactly the kind of thing that can lift a hockey bench’s spirit as it seemed to for Boston in the second.  

BY THE NUMBERS: 800 – the number of NHL games played for David Krejci with Tuesday night’s tilt against the Arizona Coyotes, with all of them played for the Bruins.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “He’s a pass first, pass second, [pass] third and then he shoots kind of player.” –David Pastrnak, when asked if playmaking center David Krejci is a pass-first kind of player. 

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Highlights from Bruins' 4-3 win over Coyotes

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Highlights from Bruins' 4-3 win over Coyotes

FINAL SCORE: Bruins 4, Coyotes 3

IN BRIEF:  Brad Marchand had two goals as the Bruins broke out with a four-goal outburst in a 4-minute, 52-second span of the second period to turn a two-goal deficit into a lead they wouldn't relinquish as they held on to beat Arizona 4-3 and extend their win streak to three. BOX SCORE 

BRUINS RECORD: 17-10-2 (38 points, T-3rd in Atlantic with the Buffalo Sabres)

FROM JOE HAGGERTY:

BOSTON - What a stunning turn of events with the Bruins scoring four goals in less than a five-minute span to claim the lead in the second period after a sleepy first. It was really the first time where it looked like Brad Marchand, David Krejci and David Pastrnak just couldn’t be stopped, much like the old line with Bergeron in the middle. When it was all over, all three forwards had three points and Marchand had two goals to start upping his production total. The best part was the tic-tac-toe passing and creativity that all three forwards showed together as their chemistry is clearly building in their third game together since Bruce Cassidy decided to make another super line.

Danton Heinen has goals in two of the past three games and may just be starting to come to life offensively. This time he did a great job of accepting the pass from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, controlling it with his skate and then kicking it to his stick before flicking it into the open net. It was great patience on Heinen’s part and a sweet, sweet backhanded saucer pass from JFK to set up Heinen in the first place. Heinen had two shots on net through the first two periods, which isn’t explosive offensively at all but is as active as he’s been through his quiet period offensively.  

Scary scene in the first period for David Backes as Oliver Ekman-Larsson fell to the ice and somehow his leg kicked up in the air and the skate blade sliced open the B’s power forward’s face. He immediately sprint-skated off the ice tossing his gloves off as he covered his bloody face and headed toward the dressing room. It was a good thing it was his mouth area rather than his neck or his eyes, but it’s still a totally scary situation. Still, how do you know Backes is a hockey player? Because he had his face sliced open by the blade and got back out there in the second without hesitation. Seeing something like that can lift a hockey bench as much as anything else. 

John Moore had a rough game. He’s been mostly solid for the Black and Gold throughout the season and really doesn’t seem to make a lot of mistakes out there. On Arizona’s second goal he tried a backhanded clear from the slot, and it got blocked as the puck stayed in the defensive zone with Arizona on the attack. Eventually, a Nick Cousins shot deflected off Moore and past Rask to give the Coyotes a then-2-0 lead. In the second period, it was again Moore that couldn’t handle a puck behind the net and shuffled it toward Tuukka Rask. The Bruins goalie couldn’t handle it and it ended up leading to another Coyotes goal.

Six hits and 7 of 13 face-off wins along with a shot on net for Sean Kuraly in the Arizona win as it appears his broken nose and slightly messed up face isn’t deterring him from playing a hard, fourth-line game. That was the damage done after Ben Harpur smashed him in the face with a right-handed uppercut during their fight in Ottawa on Sunday night. Just another tough guy for the Black and Gold as the roster is beginning to show off that grit they seemed to be missing during much of the last few weeks without Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

KREJCI-PASTRNAK-MARCHAND MAKE IT FOUR GOALS IN 4:52: 

MARCHAND GIVES B'S A 3-2 LEAD:

PASTRNAK TIES IT AT 2:  

DANTON HEINEN GETS THE B'S ON THE BOARD:

UP NEXT:

At Pittsburgh, Friday, 7 p.m. (NESN)

Vs. Buffalo, Sunday, 5 p.m. (NESN)


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