Bruins get 'Playoff Krejci' in Game 1 win

Bruins get 'Playoff Krejci' in Game 1 win
May 2, 2013, 10:30 am
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BOSTON -- It’s sometimes easy to forget just how good David Krejci had been in the playoffs up until last season.

The playmaking Czech center always seemed to surge upward with a strong second half of the regular season that would lead into strong postseason performances. Krejci led the NHL in goals scored (12) and points (23) in 25 playoff games during the 2011 Stanley Cup postseason en route to Boston winning the Cup, and was at it again in Wednesday night’s Game 1 with a game-high three points in 19:03 of ice time while serving up perfect passes to his teammates for scoring chances.

“When David [Krejci] is skating and pretty intense, it means he’s not afraid to go finish his hits and not afraid to go into the corner and battle for pucks,” said Claude Julien. “He’s one of those players that fears nothing, he never has. In other words, when he really gets his mindset to compete hard and get involved.”

It was a classic Krejci drop-down pass to a crashing defenseman that Wade Redden was able to blast through James Reimer’s goalie equipment to get the Bruins on the board, and then Krejci again fed Redden on the shot from the high slot that Nathan Horton tipped into the Toronto net.

Finally Krejci was in the right place at the right time in the second period when a loose puck escaped the gassed defensive pairing of Mark Fraser and Mike Kostka out on the ice. The playmaking center fought to get to the front of the net, and shuffled the puck between Reimer’s leg pads to give the Bruins an insurance goal.

“We haven’t had many of these [wins], but it felt pretty good,” said Krejci, who finished the season with 10 goals and 33 points in 47 games. “The full 60 minutes. We got good play from all four lines. We’ve got to just keep going.

“Two years ago is a long time ago. We have a whole different team right now, so we take it as a new season. We closed the chapter, opened a new one a couple of days ago, and everybody starts from 0-0 [in the postseason]. We won the first game, and I’m pretty happy about that. But we know it’s going to be a long series. We have to regroup, we have to be ready for the next game on Saturday, and we’re going to have to play the same way…or even better.”

The goal and two assists give Krejci 50 career points (21 goals, 29 assists) in 60 playoff games since joining the Black and Gold full time back in the 2007-08 NHL season. He only had a goal and three points in the seven game series loss against the Washington Capitals last spring, but he also absorbed a heavy piece of plexi-glass falling on his head on the TD Garden ice at the end of Game 1 last season.

Some thought that event lent itself to the Krejci suffering through a quiet playoff series afterward, and clearly his closest teammates still very much believe in him.

“I think his playoff stats get overlooked a little bit, especially because he led the whole playoffs in goals and points in 2011,” said Lucic. “I think I saw on TV after the game that he has 50 points in 60 playoff games, which is pretty impressive for a guy like him.

“So I’m just fortunate that I get an opportunity to play with [Krejci]. Like he said in his interview, we’ve just got to do whatever we can to keep it going.”

The Bruins hope that Krejci does everything within his power to elevate his own game, and carry Lucic and Nathan Horton up with him. He’s clearly off to a good start with the slick passing and playmaking vision used to set up his teammates, but it needs to continue as the Bruins look to push the Maple Leafs deeper into the Canadian ground.