BOSTON -- It might be hard to believe since his goals were such a big part of last year’s push to the Stanley Cup Final, but it wasn’t until Saturday night that Torey Krug had his first NHL regular season goal.
Fittingly it was on the power play in the first period with Krug taking a nice backhanded drop pass off the wall from Milan Lucic, and firing untouched from the slot area with Zdeno Chara screening in front of the net. It gave the Bruins a quick 1-0 lead in an eventual 4-1 victory over the Red Wings. It also earned Krug a souvenir puck from his first regular season game against the Detroit team he grew up rooting for as a Michigan kid.
“I didn’t even think about it until Looch [Milan Lucic] looked at me and goes, ‘Is that your first one?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess,' ” Krug said with a smile on his face. “It was nice [against the Wings]. I mean, obviously, it’s my hometown team.
“But when you’re out there it’s a team, and you’ve got to look forward. I don’t really know how to answer that question. It does feel nice to be done [with the game] and go against them.”
Krug struck again in the third period when he was the recipient of a second effort from Milan Lucic and David Krejci to keep the puck in the offensive zone during another power play. Krug found Chara all alone in the slot and Chara made a couple of skill moves before roofing a backhander over Jimmy Howard.
It’s clear to see that Krug’s mobility and big shot from the point are going to have a major impact on the man advantage this season.
“It’s a big part of it. You heard me mention before, Zdeno was on the point because we felt we didn’t have a ton of other options . . . but now we do,” said Claude Julien. “You’ve added a [Dougie] Hamilton to your group, you’ve added a [Torey] Krug and the mobility has increased back there.
“That allows us to move [Chara] into a position that we thought he’d be better suited for us [in front of the net].”
It’s also opened up a lot of offensive possibilities for Krug, who was Boston’s best player on the ice Saturday night. He generated a team-high eight shot attempts and managed to get five of them on net while also making important plays on a power play that is going to be a strength for the Black and Gold this season.
It’s pretty clear at this point that the four goals Krug scored in last year’s playoffs weren’t a fluke, and that the Bruins have themselves an offensive-minded puck-moving defenseman capable of creating offense when they need it most.
Not bad for a kid that was just a little wide-eyed talking about competing against guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard that just a few years ago he’d been rooting for as a Wing-loving Michigan kid, born and raised.