Krejci looking to shake out of scoreless stretch

Krejci looking to shake out of scoreless stretch
April 22, 2014, 10:45 am
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DETROIT – The sight of zeroes next to David Krejci’s name in a Stanley Cup playoff box score is more than a little disconcerting.

It’s Krejci, after all, that’s led the entire NHL playoff field in points in two of the last three years while leading the Bruins to two Stanley Cup Final appearances in two of the last three years. He had 12 goals and 23 points in 25 games when the Bruins captured the Cup in 2011, and finished with nine goals and 26 points in 22 games before falling to Chicago last season.

This year Krejci has gone scoreless in the first two games of the first round series against the Detroit Red Wings, and has been dogged by a Wings checking line spearheaded by speedy third line center Darren Helm. Both Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla managed to get in the scoring act in the Game 2 win on Sunday afternoon, but Krejci finished with few scoring chances and a minus-1 rating.

Claude Julien isn’t worried about his playmaking center and bone fide playoff superstar after a slow start.

“I don’t think that line had a lot of success, and I say that [about] the first game. They had better success in the second game, and just because he wasn’t on the scoreboard doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good player,” said Julien. “The players on that line, were productive. [Getting points] doesn’t matter, at the end of the day it’s about winning hockey games and I’m certainly not going to sit here and say he’s in a slump because he hasn’t got a point in two games.

“That’s not David [Krejci], he was good in the faceoff circle, much better, he was much better in a lot of areas, his battles, physicality and his competitiveness was really good. So again, it’s just a matter of time probably before you see him on the score sheet.”

It’s clear that the Red Wings are playing it extra rough with Krejci, and doling out as much punishment as they can when the puck is on his stick. He took a couple of hits – including a Tomas Jurco hold and shove into the boards – that might have been called penalties in Game 1, but he turned into the aggressor in Game 2.

Krejci turned heads when he decked Brendan Smith on a clean hit in the corner that saw the Detroit defensemen’s head snap back into the boards, and he was taking it to the Red Wings. That’s something his coach likes to see, and perhaps portends good things coming offensively from a number of players.

“I think everybody gets their nose dirty. I’ve watched other games in the other series, and the guys that don’t normally hit that much are putting themselves in positions to finish their checks. I think that’s what excites people about playoffs. Guys, for some reason, are able to bring their game up to another level,” said Julien. “They get out of their comfort zone of 82 games of doing the same thing and say, in order for us to win, I have to do a little bit more of just what I did in those 82 games.

“That is why teams succeed in the playoffs, when you have players doing that. You have guys that will normally flamingo [with a shot coming] during the regular season then they will slide and block a shot in the playoffs, how many times have you seen that? That’s just the way it is.”

Krejci is also a master scorer in the postseason, and is the best barometer for playoff success when it comes to the Boston Bruins. That’s just the way it is for the B’s over the last three years, and that’s likely the way it will continue to be.