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.

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.