Krejci breaks slump with three-point game

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Krejci breaks slump with three-point game

TORONTO Though the stats werent necessarily always backing it up, Claude Julien spied plenty of evidence earlier this week that David Krejci was working his way through early season difficulties.

The Czech Republic center was rewarded for the effort hes been putting in by finally piling up some production in the form of a three-point effort in the Bruins 7-0 thrashing of the Leafs at the Air Canada Center.

It was his biggest offensive eruption in a modest season, and Krejci snapped a six-game pointless streak with a right place at the right time score in the second period. The Krejci goal finished off a long stretch of pressure from the Bs erstwhile scoring unit, and handed the Bs a gaudy five-goal lead they wouldnt relinquish.

Krejcis night finished up with a pair of assists on both of Milan Lucics goals, and more than tripled his season-scoring output in the points department he values pretty highly. Krejci knows its his job to generate offense and points, and he finally did that for the first time in a season thats seen offensive struggles for the Bs.

I didnt think he played that badly against Ottawa and now it looks like things are paying off for them, said Julien. We just need Krejci and Horton to keep getting better because theyre an important part of the hockey club.

Krejcis helpers arrived on both Lucic goals in the win over the Leafs, and the center was heartened after the game. He was starting to see some results after putting hard work into turning things around over the last few games, and getting away from the coasting habit that can creep into his game.

Krejci finished with nearly 16 minutes of ice time and clocked out after winning 5-of-10 face-offs -- and succeeding in twice engineering quick follow-up scores for the Bruins on the heels of Leafs goals that really demoralized Toronto.

I got some momentum on my side and it was a good night. Obviously Im going to try and make that a turning point, said Krejci talking the game in terms of his season. My game is just going to go up.

Krejci now has four points and a minus-3 in nine games this season. He looks like hes slowly climbing out of the malaise that tainted his game through the first month. The young center simply needed a place to create and enjoy a little positive feedback on the ice, and all of that was present in the feel-good win over the Leafs.

There is still room for improvement, however.

Krejci looked a little lazy on the first power play when a telegraphed pass from the half-wall turned into a Toronto rush down the other end of the ice. He also couldnt come close to cashing in on a 3-on-2 advantage in the third period when the crafty center had both Lucic and Nathan Horton bearing down hard on the wings.

Ive felt pretty good the last couple of games, but Im a guy thats supposed to put the puck in the net or make it happen. Tonight it happened and I feel good about that, said Krejci, who scored on his only shot of the night. In the last game Milan had a goal and I felt like we had so many chances against Ottawa. But the luck wasnt on our side. We finally got the luck on our side and got a few goals.

Given the difficult puck luck that came the Bs way in the first month, a few more goals for Krejci and Co. should be in the cards as long as they keep working and competing for pucks.

Chara on slumping Bruins: Players shouldn't have to be told to work hard

Chara on slumping Bruins: Players shouldn't have to be told to work hard

BRIGHTON -- The on-ice portion of Bruins practice kicked off about an hour later than scheduled at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday morning.

The B's are reeling, having lost four games in a row for the first time this season after getting dumped by the Penguins, 5-1, in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. Their standing in the Atlantic Division, and the playoff picture, is tenuous at best with so many other teams holding games in hand over them, and it truly looks like they're going to slide out of the race if they can’t reverse their fortunes.

So Claude Julien, saying "desperate times call for desperate measures," summoned the players to a video session where flaws, mistakes, half-hearted efforts and bad systems-play was pointed out in front of everyone. The team then took the ice to iron out those problems in an hour-long practice that the embattled Bruins coach hopes will lead to better results in the final two games, against Detroit and Pittsburgh, before the All-Star break.

“He was showing details that we were doing well early on in the season to have success, and little things that we’ve gotten away from that we need to correct,” said captain Zdeno Chara. “We need to start doing them again. It’s a game of little details and we need to make sure we do them right.”

While Chara wouldn’t comment on the tone of the video session, it’s clear that things like effort, determination and desperation were probably talking points just as much as fine-tuning Julien’s long-held offensive and defensive systems.

“It’s commitment," said Chara. "That’s for sure, that we need to have everybody doing that. We shouldn’t . . . at this level, at this time of the season, [have to be] asking guys to work hard. We’ve got to make sure that everybody is working hard, and everybody is paying his dues to be in the lineup and earn a spot.

“That’s the No. 1 priority: You have to compete and you have to work hard. Usually when you do those things, good things happen. We’ve got to back to those little things [with] hard work, commitment and competing every shift.”

Will an honest, direct video session between head coach and players be the key to stopping the team’s most demoralizing stretch of the season, and lead to a prolonged winning streak? Only time will tell.

But the Bruins need something to get spinning in an entirely different direction. 

Monday, Jan. 23: Yandle endorses Coyotes

Monday, Jan. 23: Yandle endorses Coyotes

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while sorting through all the Bruins-related alternative facts out there.

*Matthew Tkachuk is having some disagreements with his parents about his mouth-guard usage with the Calgary Flames.

*Former Yotes D-man Keith Yandle says that the Arizona Coyotes “know what they’re doing” despite their decent to the cellar in the Western Conference.

*Insights on every goaltending situation in the NHL from the crack ESPN.com staff breaking down the fantasy rankings.

*The struggles continue for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they can’t seem to gain any traction in the Atlantic Division.

*Wayne Simmonds took the blame for a late penalty that led to Philly’s undoing as they battle for playoff position in the East.

*Sounds like Patrik Laine might be nearing a return to the lineup, and that’s a very good thing for the Winnipeg Jets.

*For something completely different: We have a title for the next Star Wars film. It’s going to be called “The Last Jedi.”