Patience Pays Off for Krejci, Bruins in OT Win
It lifted the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in a Saturday matinee at TD Garden. The goal came 1:28 into extra time.
"OT wins, they always feel good to be a part of when you’re on the winning side," said Iginla, from the Bruins' locker room postgame.
"It was nice move with Krech with the patience. I thought 'great move' and I’m like okay put it in, put it in," he laughed, with that signature Iginla smile we've become accustomed to.
"But he obviously made that right call and it’s great patience and in a pretty tight spot there."
"It was basically all Iggy," Krejci beamed postgame. "It was like one against two, he split the D, I didn’t think he saw me but he did. I kind of had an easy job to do, just put it in the kind of half-open net."
"The puck found me, and I kind of had a sense that the goalie was going to slide over because he didn’t know what I was going to do, so I kind of held onto it a little extra second and after that, it looked like the net was almost all empty, so it was kind of easy for me to put it in."
Krejci, who scored his first goal in his past eight games and his fourth on the season, has a knack for making the game look like its in slow motion when the puck's on his stick.
He's often the playmaker, who currently leads the team with 13 assists, instinctively going over his options in fractions of seconds. The same was true of his overtime-winner.
"That’s my game," said Krejci. "I get credit for that, but I also get some negative feedback -- but when it works, everybody’s happy and no one is talking bad about my game, so I’m glad it worked."
"But that’s what I do; I’m not going to change my game."
It's worked for Krejci, and while it's only 23 games into the 2013-14 season, if having led the past two out of three postseasons in scoring is anything to hang your hat on, well...
"Yeah, sometimes that patience pays off and it paid off on that winning goal, no doubt," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.
"He didn’t panic with it and sometimes you wish that he’d have less patience and make things happen a little quicker," smirked the B's bench boss.
"But he slows the game down to his pace a lot of times and when he’s on top of his game, it really throws the other team off."
"I thought he made the right play there on that winning goal; was really good. Took the time to handle the puck well and by the time the goalie was out of position, he knew exactly where he wanted to put it."
Krejci's patience paid off, but so did the team's.
After the Bruins and Hurricanes traded first period tallies (with Zdeno Chara finding the net for the B's), Boston dominated most of the scoring chances. They held Carolina to only one shot during a span that ran from the midpoint of the first period through the second.
The Black & Gold outshot the Canes 14-6 in the first and 12-4 in the second. Overall, they ended up with 61 shot attempts.
But after Reilly Smith showed his own patience on his go-ahead tally in the middle frame, the Bruins couldn't find the back of the net again until overtime. They were outshot 14-11 in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Carolina took advantage of a Bruins' miscue, scoring shorthanded on a breakaway midway through the third period to tie it up at 2-2.
"I felt like we had an okay game, we had so many shots, we outshot them a lot, so I feel like we could have scored way more goals and the game could have been over earlier," said Krejci.
"But we didn’t, and we stuck with it and we found a way to win the game."
There was limited frustration from the Bruins, who despite not ending it in regulation, maintained their composure.
"We stayed pretty calm. We stayed calm on the bench. We talked about finding a way," said Julien. "I think it was nice to see the guys stay composed instead of panicking or getting mad."
"It was a disappointing way to give them that second goal but at the same time you have to turn around and figure out what you’re going to do about it and our guys, like I said, went out and won this game."
In the extra frame, the B's bench boss opted to use three forwards and one defensman for shifts.
"We haven’t gotten much out of our shootouts so I just thought it was important to maybe get a line out there, give us maybe some more offense because of the fact they’re used to playing with each other," said Julien, of the decision. "Taking that strategy and having one defenseman there and making sure a forward always came back and, tonight, it paid off."
"As far as I was concerned we shouldn’t have gotten to that stage. I thought we played well enough, especially in that first period we had some great scoring chances…I thought we were the better team, so it was nice to see us find a way to win that in overtime."
"That was a surprise," said Iginla. "But I think as a forward it’s fun to be a part of it and I think it adds to the aggressiveness of it."
"I think you have a chance to put some pressure on and it worked out."
Iginla and Krejci factored into the game-winner, and they also helped set up Chara's power-play goal.
The duo, along with Milan Lucic, had only put up two points in their previous five games, when Lucic and Iginla connected on an empty-netter in the 4-1 over the Canes in Raleigh.
The line came up with three points in this one, and it appears they could use it as a confidence builder moving forward.
For the trio, though, they've felt the chances and pressure has been fairly consistent from their line.
"I felt like the last game against [St. Louis] we played a pretty good hockey game, we got some chances. Obviously we didn’t score, it gets kind of frustrating, but we kind of stayed positive and today we got a couple goals on our line."
"Hopefully it was a breakthrough for our line and we can be putting the puck in the net more often."
Iginla, who like Krejci has four goals on the season, feels the same.
"As a team, I think we’re getting good chances and as a line - especially our last couple games - we’re getting back to getting some real good looks and consistent chances," said the winger.
"At times we’ve been able to do that this year and it’s not just about production, it’s about trying to put pressure on the other team and lots of different things that go into it. But we definitely put pressure on ourselves to contribute and want to get back at it and do that on a consistent basis."
"The last couple games have been a good step and it was a great move, great finish by Krech there in OT and something to build on and kind of be that spark to start a real hot streak."
"Obviously we would like to put a puck in the net," said Krejci. "But when you look at the standings and Boston is in first place, that’s all that matters."