NEWARK David Krejci is a difficult judge when it comes to evaluating his own play, and the playmaking center knew he like the rest of the Bruins team didnt fare very well against the Dallas Stars last weekend.
Sure he was on the scoresheet and he kept a point streak going in defeat, but he was getting bounced around physically and was dominated in the faceoff circle for long stretches of the game. When Krejci isnt winning faceoffs and controlling puck possession, it puts his big-bodied wingers in chase the puck mode and thats not a good thing unless theyre able to throw a few bone-rattling checks in the process.
So Krejcis line didnt have the puck much against the Stars, and that was something he vowed to help change against the Devils before putting up two points in a 6-1 victory over New Jersey at the Prudential Center.
Krejci fed a beautifully feathered cross-ice pass to Nathan Horton for a power-play goal in the first period, and then scored his eighth goal of the season while tipping a Dennis Seidenberg blast in the third period. It pushed Krejcis scoring streak to six straight games with at least one point, and continues a nice offensive push by his forward line over the last few weeks.
We didnt play our hockey game over the last two games in Phoenix and Dallas. We have something good going on here, so we talked about going back toward the way we know how to play, said Krejci. We had a really strong game putting the puck in the net. We were going short and hard with the shifts and that helped us get the big win.
One of the most important areas that Krejci zeroed in on was taking draws and he dominated on the dot. He won all eight of his draws in the first period against an overmatched Adam Henrique or an embattled Patrik Elias, and finished with 12 faceoff wins in 15 draws.
Coach Claude Julien said Krejcis occasional faceoff woes are all about diagnosing what the opponent is doing to gain an edge over him, and then adjusting his faceoff technique on the fly. Opponents will sometimes change things up on Krejci and force him out of his comfort zone until he makes an adjustment. For instance, Steve Ott ate Krejci up in the faceoff circle Saturday night in Dallas, beating him on eight of nine draws.
Probably where David is going to get better in those areas is when he learns to figure out the issue when hes not winning them," said Julien. "Its not so much him as much as reading the other centermen, seeing what theyre doing and trying to neutralize them to get the advantage.
Sometimes he gets discouraged a little bit and starts thinking negatively. When you dont win draws and when you think youre going to lose, then you will lose. Tonight he felt pretty good and I think our whole team was good in the faceoff circle.
Good is 30 wins in 42 faceoffs throughout the game, and that would be considered great for most teams. But not all teams are leading the NHL in faceoff winning percentage like the Bruins are with their unbendable strength down the middle of the ice.
Krejci certainly struggled against Ott and his legendary faceoff skills in his own mind, but the dominating body of work against New Jersey bodes well for future faceoff assignments.
That kind of performance is all the more impressive on the road, and showed the presence of confidence, execution and gritty determination that sometimes goes missing for Krejci during the season.
Sometimes it happens, but last game I couldnt figure it out. Then I tried to cheat and they kicked me out of the faceoff circle, said Krejci. Today I really bore down and I started 9-0 on faceoffs. I felt pretty good about that and finished strong.
Youve got to win the faceoffs and start with the puck. Its way better to start with it and do something rather than go around chasing the puck. Thats not what we want to do.