BOSTON – David Krejci is the Bruins number one center, leading the team in points, with nine, through the first nine games of the season. He led the league in postseason points during the B’s Stanley Cup run in 2011. He has 20 career game-winning goals – including playoffs – and two already this season.
Yet, when it comes to being heaped with praise, he always seems to be flying under the radar.
On Wednesday night against Montreal, with the game tied at 1-1, Krejci drove hard to the net and buried the game-winner off of a pass from Milan Lucic. With 1:50 left to go in a game against Carolina on January 28, he one-timed a Dougie Hamilton pass by goalie Cam Ward for the winner. A day later, he assisted on Nathan Horton’s game-tying goal late in the third period against New Jersey.
While constant praise and outside attention isn't always directed towards the center’s slick play-making ability, solid defense, and faceoff success, his teammates and coaches clearly see what Krejci brings to the Black & Gold.
“I’m real happy with David’s play,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, following Friday’s practice at TD Garden. “David Krejci has been so consistent for us since the beginning of the year. I think, if anything, he’s been as consistent as we’ve seen him. He’s been, not a good, but a great player for us. I think he’s a great player, he’s got good speed, good hands.
“The part that I like about David is that he’s playing and skating well. When I say playing, he’s skating well. He’s making plays, and even the goal he scored the other night [against Montreal], he drove the net.
“There’s not a part of David Krejci’s game right now that he’s not doing well, and as long as you’ve got David in that frame of mind, you’ve got a really good player.”
Against Montreal, Julien decided to switch things up with the Bruins trailing, 1-0, heading into the third. The B’s were having trouble generating chances and cashing in on the opportunities they did get against Carey Price, so he swapped Nathan Horton with Tyler Seguin, putting No. 19 on the top line with Krejci and Lucic.
The move paid dividends, immediately, with the line scoring two goals to take the lead. Krejci was at the center of the offensive outburst, when just over ten seconds into the third, he made a perfect pass from the corner to Seguin who was cutting to the net. Seguin then backhanded the puck past Carey Price to tie the game at 1.
Krejci then scored the winner, just under two minutes later. No. 46’s offensive skills and ability to come through in the clutch were on full display in those few short minutes, even after his line had been shuffled.
“It’s a good feeling, and we know we’ve been doing some good things, but we’ve still got something more to give to our team,” said Krejci of his new possible line moving forward, while pointing out that the there’s still work to be done to mesh together. “So, we’re just trying to keep our feet moving and keep trying to get better every game.
“I feel we play better, obviously, when the puck is going in the net and the team’s winning.”
The same trio was back together at practice Friday, suggesting that there is a possibility that the line could play together moving forward, but Coach Julien said all lines are still up in the air.
Lucic says that no matter who his linemates are, as a whole they are still expected to get the job done.
“It was great to get the immediate results from making a line change there,” said Lucic after Friday’s practice. “It only took a few seconds for Seguin to get a goal there in the third period.
“I think for us, you’re expected to play a certain way no matter who you play with, so if that’s what it takes to maybe spark a guy, maybe a change sometimes needs to be made.”
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