Bruins' streak iced, but Krejci stays hot

191545.jpg

Bruins' streak iced, but Krejci stays hot

By MaryPaoletti
CSNNE.com
I think right now were seeing David Krejci playing the way I think we expect him to play. Its as simple as that.
-- Claude Julien, Bruins coach

BOSTON Claude Julien couldnt have been more matter-of-fact about his top centers play on Saturday night. The Bruins fell in overtime, 3-2, to the Penguins to bring an end to their seven-game win streak. But the loss came in spite of yet another strong effort by Krejci.

He kicked things off with an assist on Zdeno Charas goal to put Boston up 1-0 in the second period. And Krejcis own strike with 33 seconds left in the game forced overtime when it looked like Pittsburgh had the game locked up. The goal salvaged a point to keep the Bruins (84 points) in striking distance of Eastern Conference leader Philadelphia (86).

Its no surprise that Bostons rise in the ranks coincides with a personal streak 11 points in 9 games for Krejci.

This is something that weve talked about for a good portion of the year, is that hes capable of doing that, Julien said on Saturday. Thats the way David Krejci should play and thats what we expect out of him. Hes capable of making those plays, hes capable of seeing the ice well and his two linemates are playing pretty well also, so thats made for a pretty successful line lately.

Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton are indeed reaping the benefits of being centered by a playmaker like Krejci. Lucics two assists give him 15 points in his last 12 games; Hortons helper (on the game-tying goal) extends his point streak to five games and gives him 12 points in his last 12 contests.

The production is at least some kind of answer to the question that buzzed around the Bruins in the first week of February: How would they fare without Marc Savard?

In 2007-08, Krejci was splitting time between Boston and Providence while Savard led the Bruins in scoring. The next season, Krejci racked up 73 points in a full year with the big boys, but Savard boasted 88. So even though Savard sat for half of 2009-10 because of concussions, it was expected that when he returned to full health, he would return to the first line.

But Marc Savard never really got healthy. On February 6, the Bruins star center was shut down. Expectations for Krejci ramped up.

David, as you know in the past, has always been the key to our teams success, Julien said earlier in the week. Whether its been Patrice Bergeron or whether its been Savard thats gone down, hes picked up his game. Hes made a world of a difference for this hockey club. And he knows that. The better he plays, the better the team is, because hes that good of a player.

Krejci has scored in 9 of 12 games since Savard was shut down. His 40 assists are best for the Bruins and in the top 10 in the NHL. Hes helped Horton who had a five-game stretch without a point get into a groove.

The best part for Boston? David Krejci isnt satisfied. Despite helping Chara put the team on the board and scoring to send Saturdays game to overtime, he wanted more. His hunger is exactly what the Bs need as they dive into the final five weeks of the regular season.

I dont think we played our best game, the center said in the postgame. I am positive if we played our game, then we would win. We gave them too many shots in the first two periods. That cant happen.

Reporters flocked to Krejci in the locker room to ask about the point he stole as the clock bore down on the Bruins. But he also had to answer for the point Pittsburgh got away with.

The first line center handled the pressure deftly, as he does on the ice.

We were coming out into the third period. We kind of went all in, Krejci said. We tried to get a goal. We tried to do something. Thats what you need, is your players to step up in those situations.

Funny. Thats exactly what he has done.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Tuesday, Sept. 27: Jumbo Joe energizes Team Canada

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Tuesday, Sept. 27: Jumbo Joe energizes Team Canada

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering exactly what “semi-exact” means.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Josh Cooper has a piece on Jumbo Joe Thornton bringing an ageless energy to Team Canada.

*If you’re wondering where former B’s farmhand goaltender Jeremy Smith ended up, he’s now with the Colorado Avalanche.

*The Hockey News believes that the Bruins will be back in the playoffs this season after a two-year absence.

*While I appreciate the Hockey News linking to my work, I feel like it’s a key piece of info that I’m the Bruins Insider for CSN New England and not NESN.

*Is Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger the man with the plan to defeat a Team Canada juggernaut in the World Cup of Hockey.

*Dustin Byfuglien had an interesting take on the World Cup after flaming out with Team USA: “It is what it is. I didn’t really enjoy it.”

*For something completely different: this is not your father’s Converse, but it’s a sleek look that the kids are gonna love.

 

 

Young Bruins ‘acquitted themselves well’ in preseason debut

boston-bruins-danton-heinen-092716.jpg

Young Bruins ‘acquitted themselves well’ in preseason debut

BOSTON – It was an excellent night for the many varied Bruins prospects in the preseason opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The B’s eventually dropped the game in a 3-2 shootout loss at TD Garden, but not before some of their young players showed exactly what they can do.

“For sure it’s a lot of fun. Coming in here everybody’s a little nervous, but it was, once you’re out there, it’s just fun. It was good to see the young guys out there,” said former University of Denver standout Danton Heinen, who scored the tying strike in the third period on a redirect. “It was definitely adjusting. You don’t totally know what to expect and then once the game went on I kind of felt a little more comfortable. We started playing better as a team.”

Former first-round pick Jake DeBrusk set up the B’s first goal with Jimmy Hayes by executing a nifty give-and-go at the Columbus net, and young skaters Jakub Zboril and Austin Czarnik made the initial transition passes that led up to the goal. In the third period Danton Heinen redirected a Brandon Carlo point shot from the slot area, and scored in his first career game played at TD Garden in an impressive show of hand-eye coordination.

Carlo, Czarnik, DeBrusk, Zboril and Heinen all had strong performances on the score sheet and at both ends of the ice, and that’s exactly what the Bruins coaching staff wanted to see with NHL jobs potentially up for grabs in main camp.

“A lot of young players in the lineup, I won’t go through all of them, but I thought quite a few of them acquitted themselves well,” said Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. “They were given opportunities to do that. I think some of them certainly took advantage of it, and did a nice job.”

It was good that the young players stepped up and made a nice impression in the preseason debut because the veteran players will cut into their opportunities once the World Cup of Hockey crew gets sprinkled into the mix starting this week.