David Krejci shrugged it off like it was no big deal postgame, but it was obviously a long time coming for the Bruins center finally tallying his first goal of the season.
“Yeah, it obviously feels good,” said Krejci. “It feels good, that’s all I’ve got.”
The 34-year-old center had gone the first 19 games of the regular season without a goal while the team was sliding down the rankings in overall offense. Things hit a slumping crescendo when Krejci hit a post and was thoroughly robbed by Semyon Varlamov in Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Islanders, so the Czech center was more than overdue.
It was fitting, then, that Krejci finally broke through in Boston’s 4-0 shutout win over the Rangers at TD Garden. It was a one-time blast from the point off a Matt Grzelcyk feed that Krejci stepped into and has marked Boston’s uptick in PP scoring chances since Krejci replaced Nick Ritchie on the B’s top man advantage unit over the last two games.
“I thought [the power play] got stagnant, so moving [Brad] Marchand to the front of the net, where he’s excellent recovering pucks, and moving [David] Krejci to the half-wall then maybe we’ll see some better puck movement,” said Bruce Cassidy, who now has seen PP goals in each of the last two games with a couple of long-range bombs from the point. “Teams are starting to take away [Patrice] Bergeron and [David] Pastrnak, so the seam plays to the middle of the ice are closing down. So, the drop-down has been there in front of the net.
“I thought it might be better-suited for what teams are giving us, and [it was about] just asking the players to move around a little bit more. Krejci is used to playing both half-walls, so maybe that would open up some stuff, and sure enough it did on Long Island. So good for him. It was a good shot. We know he can one-time the puck. He’s had some tough luck this year, hit some posts and a great save in that last game, so it was good to see one go in for them. And [it’s big] for the power play to strike two nights in a row. We’d like to get it back to where it’s a legitimate weapon for us and hopefully these two games help turn it around.”
Certainly, Krejci has been okay offensively with 13 points in 20 games, and he made it a two-point night when he fed Jake DeBrusk 1:21 after his own goal for a one-time score to close out the scoring in Boston’s one-sided win over the Blueshirts. But it feels like Krejci is really locking in offensively over the last couple of games, and that’s something the Bruins needs to ride offensively for a while as they seek out a balanced offensive attack.
A hot streak to follow that gets Krejci back close to a 20-goal pace and manufactures offense with linemates DeBrusk and Ritchie would be a big Boston Bruins development for a team that hasn’t received nearly enough from their second line, to date.