The Czech mates will be back together Thursday night when the Boston Bruins host the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.
Despite having arguably the best line in the NHL with his top trio of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins head coach isn’t afraid to try new things to jumpstart his offense. That’s why, as they have been the last two days and will be Wednesday as well, Pastrnak will slide down a line, riding on the right side with David Krejci at center and Nick Ritchie on the left wing. Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, will slide into Pastrnak’s spot with Marchand and Bergeron.
Krejci has ten assists in the first 14 games but is yet to light the lamp. Meanwhile, DeBrusk who missed five games has just two assists in nine games. DeBrusk already saw some time with Bergeron and Marchand when Pastrnak missed the first seven games and seemed to play better.
“It’s a little bit of, a few guys offensively haven’t had much luck – ‘Krech’ [Krejci], Jake,” Cassidy said after practice Tuesday. “Maybe Jake being back with Bergy and March – I thought he played OK up there. He got injured…thought he was doing a good job – they tend to push whoever’s with them. Could be a good arrangement.”
What may be an even better ‘arrangement’ though could be Krejci and Pastrnak playing as linemates again. The 34-year-old playmaker and 24-year old reigning Co-Rocket Richard winner have found chemistry before.
“Krech has played before with Pasta, so it’s just a little bit of a different look,” Cassidy pointed out. “We’ve talked about doing it in the past. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes…Bergy and March have been fine, they’re gonna generate every night. ‘Pasta’ had a great start – pucks aren’t finding him quite as easily as when he first came back…some of that is coverage. Maybe this gets both lines scoring a little bit.”
Pastrnak, who scored five goals – including a hat trick – in his first three games, has gone four straight games without lighting the lamp. The reigning Czech Athlete of The Year isn’t looking at this as a demotion but rather another opportunity to play with a mentor on and off the ice and one of the greatest Czech players to play in the NHL in the last 15 years. As Pastrnak pointed out, Krejci maybe doesn’t get enough credit in North America but he’s easily one of the best brains on the ice when it comes to NHL centers.
“Very underrated playmaker. His vision on the ice is unbelievable,” the Bruins sniper said. “His patience in the game is [unmatched]. It seems like even when I was hurt earlier this season, watching it from up top, seems like he just had so much time and makes it look so easy when he has the puck on the stick with his decisions.
Just the way he is and how patient he is…great mentor for me as well. It helps that we are from the same country. I’m excited to play with him on the wing. We are both obviously offensive players, but we start good in the D-zone and have pucks on sticks and once he has it, I’ll just be ready to shoot, even from the red line.”
As for Krejci, he’s excited to be reunited with his fellow Czech mate and one of the best goal scorers in the NHL.
We feed off each other pretty well,” Krejci said Tuesday. “Obviously, he’s one of the best players in the league. Who wouldn’t want to play with him? I’m excited…he can do it all on the ice. I’m just gonna try to do the best for him offensively and once we get the puck our offensive instincts take over. It starts in our defensive zone, take care of our own end, play with the puck as much as we can. Most of the time he has the puck, good things happen.”