Krejci's goal sparks comeback vs. Rangers

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Krejci's goal sparks comeback vs. Rangers

BOSTON -- The third period comeback for the Boston Bruins never happens if they dont get that vital first goal midway through the final 20 minutes.

Thats where David Krejci came in by pouncing on a rebound after a Dennis Seidenberg shot created a rebound that bounced off Milan Lucics big body in front of the net. With both Lucic and Nathan Horton pounding away at the New York Rangers defense in front of the net, Krejci crashed the net near the right post and flipped the puck for his fourth goal of the season.

It helped the Bruins erase a three-goal deficit in the third period when they scored two more in the final 1:31 of the third period with Tuukka Rask pulled from the net. While those two goals were huge in the closing minutes of the eventual 4-3 shootout loss at TD Garden, Krejci said he could feel the tone of the Rangers change after his first goal.

"It was important obviouslyyouve got to get the first one. Once you get the first one then they get nervous a little bit I think thats what happened, said Krejci. We were all over them, we were getting great chances after the first goal and our shooters did a good job driving the net and then putting the puck in the back of the net.

It was fitting that Krejci got things started for the Bruins as the Czech Republic native was the best forward on his line for most of the night. Lucic and Horton seemed a little off their games in the first two periods and an ill-advised neutral zone feed from the left wing led to one of New Yorks goals, but Krejci just stayed with his game into the third period.

Its the reason Krejci is leading the Bruins with 11 points (4 goals and 7 assists) in 11 games this season, and has managed to keep his own game consistent while things are fluctuating around him. The playmaking pivot is creating and scoring at a point-per-game pace that some have envisioned for the 26-year-old since he first burst onto the scene for the Bruins five years ago.

Krejci led all players with five shots on net in his 21:05 in ice time, and once again was one of the best players on the ice from beginning to end.

Those two big wingers did a great job in front of the net. They were two big bodies that had the other players on the other team preoccupied with, and Krejci just snuck to the side of the net and was able to pounce on that loose puck, said Claude Julien. "Krejci has been a good player for us this year.

Hes feeling good about his game, hes feeling good about himself, and when Dave Krejci feels that way Daves a real good player.

When Krejci is a really good player, its been proven that the Bruins are a very difficult hockey club to defeat.

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.

 

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.