David Krejci’s importance to the Boston Bruins offense has been very noticeable since he returned to the lineup on Oct. 13 after missing the first three games of the regular season.
The 28-year-old first-line center — who led the B’s in scoring last season with 69 points — has tallied a team-leading eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games this campaign. Boston’s offense has averaged 3.14 goals per game with Krejci in the lineup, compared to just 1.00 goals when he was injured and unable to play.
Krejci extended his point streak to six games with a beautiful second-period goal against Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier on Saturday night. It was one of several nice goals in Boston’s 4-1 win at the Air Canada Centre.
Scoring against the Leafs is nothing new for Krejci. He’s tallied 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) with 52 shots on goal in 27 games against Toronto since the start of the 2008-09 season. His playoff stats versus the Leafs (13 points in seven games) are quite impressive, too.
Krejci also did a decent job controlling puck possession with a 53 Corsi-for percentage during 5-on-5 play Saturday night. That’s pretty good for a forward who started just 36 percent of his even-strength shifts in the attacking zone.
One of Krejci’s best skills is making his teammates more productive offensively, so it’s no surprise that all six of linemate Milan Lucic’s points have been tallied after his center returned to the lineup. Boston also has scored five of its six power-play goals on the season while Krejci has been in the lineup.
The Bruins’ decision to extend Krejci with a six-year, $43.5 million contract in September was criticized by some fans and media. While it’s still to early to judge this contract, there’s no denying Krejci is a vital part of the team’s offense and a key factor in his linemates providing scoring production on a consistent basis. Without him, the Bruins lack a legitimate top line and struggle to score with the man advantage.
It’s hard to win a Stanley Cup without a No. 1 center — a role that Krejci has excelled in for the last four-plus seasons.
— Gregory Campbell scored the Bruins’ first short-handed goal of the season in the third period. Daniel Paille deserves praise for a pretty set up.
— Carl Soderberg opened the scoring in the first period with his team-leading third goal of the season.
— Here’s a look at Boston’s time on ice for defensemen. Dennis Seidenberg playing over 25 minutes less than a year after undergoing major knee surgery isn’t ideal, but the B’s don’t have much of a choice with Zdeno Chara unable to play. [tweet https://twitter.com/myregularface/status/526191798059016192 align=”center”]
— Patrice Bergeron’s line struggled against the San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders earlier in the week, but it rebounded well versus the Leafs.
|Oct. 25 (vs. TOR)||5-on-5|
|Player||Corsi For||Corsi Against|
— Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask played very well and made 33 saves for his fourth win of the season. His two saves on Leafs center Tyler Bozak early in the first period prevented Toronto from opening the scoring.
— The Bruins played excellent team defense against the Leafs. The defensemen protected the slot and kept Toronto to the perimeter, while the forwards back checked consistently. [tweet https://twitter.com/RealJackEdwards/status/526177823086477312 align=”center”]
— Boston won 41 of 68 faceoffs, led by Patrice Bergeron (71 percent) and Gregory Campbell (67 percent).
— The Bruins scored first Saturday and are 5-2 this season when that happens. They are 0-3-0 when the opponent opens the scoring.
Photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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