WILMINGTON, MA – At one point this season, the line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic was invincible. They could do it all: score, make plays, create energy, play physically. It seemed that whatever needed to be done to have a successful shift, the trio was doing it.
However, over the past several weeks, things have shifted a bit. If one were to create a power ranking of the Bruins’ lines, it would be hard not to give the top spot to the Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin-Brad Marchand line, which has combined for 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists) over the past nine games.
Even after potting a goal last night, and combining for four assists the game prior to that against Montreal (on goals by Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton), the Krejci line still feels it has more to offer.
“Obviously, yeah, I was happy,” said the line’s centerman, Krejci, on scoring a goal off of an Andrew Ference rebound on Thursday night against Toronto. “But I thought we had a tough game [Thursday]. Sometimes, especially the last few games, it’s hard to find a rhythm with so many penalties.
“Sometimes it seems like you’re sitting on the bench for 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s a penalty, then after that it’s a commercial break, so sometimes it’s hard to get a rhythm. But we’re trying to stay with it, stay positive on the bench and try to do our best when we get out there.”
The line is producing the most when it plays a “north-south” style of play – skating hard up and down the ice and going to the net with a purpose. In order to get back to the scoring pace they were at towards the beginning of the season, Lucic says they will have to take that same “north-south” approach.
“I think we’re most successful when we’re playing north-south hockey,” Lucic explained, following practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilimington Friday afternoon. “We’re just moving the puck up, moving our feet, and kind of playing that power game and taking it to the net.
“[It] can’t be any different moving forward. But like I said, there’s times where we have opportunities to be creative, we definitely have the ability to do that. When we do, we’ve got to make sure we get the job done and it doesn’t end up in our net.”
Lucic made a slick spin-around pass that led to Krejci’s tally in the B’s 4-2 win over Toronto, and was able to make it happen by racing up the ice towards the offensive zone. Horton fed him with a pass at the Toronto blue line and Lucic took the puck into the zone, spun, and found Andrew Ference breaking into the zone.
Ference fired a shot on net, and Krejci picked up the rebound to put Boston up 3-0 late in the second period.
“When you see a pass, you try to make it as best you can,” Lucic said. “I definitely feel better in my skating game, for sure. I feel like I’m able to push the pace on the rush and I’m not trying to catch up to anyone, so that obviously helps a lot.
“We always try to play a high-tempo game. For me, you don’t want to drag anyone down, so I try my best to push that pace and get my legs going.”
Krejci, who lost a tooth in the win against Toronto, is hoping that the line can build off his goal and maybe get some of Bergeron’s line’s mojo to rub off on them.
“Everybody can see that they’re playing with such confidence, nothing can pull them out of their game,” said Krejci of the Bergeron line. “It’s good to see that the puck is going in for that line. I just hope it can helps us as a line.
“But, as long as we’re winning hockey games, then that’s what matters.”
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