BOSTON – Torey Krug has well beyond a nice rookie story during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and into something pretty special that’s happening in front of everybody’s eyes in Boston.
Krug notched his fourth goal of the playoffs in his fifth postseason game for the Black and Gold in Boston’s 3-1 victory in Game 5 at TD Garden that eliminated the New York Rangers from the playoffs. It was another power play goal for the 22-year-old defenseman and the Bruins, and it was also another blistering one-timer from the top of the right circle that’s become Krug’s calling card while settling in with the Bruins.
“I saw Segs [Tyler Seguin] had the puck up top. I just tried to get out there. I just hopped onto the ice from the bench, and just tried to get open in position to get my shot through,” said Krug, who has five points (4 goals, 1 assist) in five games with a plus-3 rating. “When I take one-timers, I just try to make the goalie make a save with his hands, and fortunately it went in.
“It’s a great feeling. I’m glad we closed it out tonight in front of a great crowd. It was so loud in there, I could barely hear myself think sometimes. It was a great experience.”
There’s little question about the immensity of Krug’s impact since jumping into the Bruins lineup in place of injured defenseman Andrew Ference, and once again it was packed into 15:40 of important ice time for the blueliner.
According to Elias Sports, Krug’s offensive explosion is the first time a rookie NHL defenseman has scored four goals in his first five playoff games since the beginning of the expansion era. Considering the vast array of talented offensive defensemen that have flowed through the NHL’s ranks over the years, that is nothing short of incredibly impressive.
“You always hope that guys can come in and help your team out. There’s no doubt he was magic for us in this series. To score that many goals and show the confidence that he showed playing in this series is pretty outstanding,” said Claude Julien. “He’s a player that we’ve always felt good about in our organization. He’s shown what he’s all about. We said ice in his veins and that’s what he’s got.”
Even better, the power play was 4-for-12 during the five game playoff series against the Rangers and was performing at the highest postseason efficiency anybody has seen in Boston since the days of Marc Savard. Tyler Seguin was installed onto the power play unit with Krug within the last couple of games, and they teamed up on Krug’s goal in the second period that gave Boston signs of offensive life on Saturday afternoon.
“At first it was just like ‘well, there’s another one for Kruger’” said Milan Lucic. “But I think that’s when kind of everything got started for us. When you see a guy like him able to step in and play the way he did in the series, I think it definitely lifts you up and makes you play harder.
“You see how hard he played and you try to thrive off that. You remember the feeling when you were that young, and playing as a rookie in the playoffs.”
There will be different challenges with the Pittsburgh Penguins looming in the Eastern Conference Finals, and decisions to make as veteran Andrew Ference continues to heal from a left foot injury suffered against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. Perhaps Krug can continue at the frantic offensive pace he showed in his first playoff experience against the Rangers, but either way the young blueliner has made an electric first impression that can never be taken away.