BOSTON — Replacing a No. 1 center minutes before a game starts is no easy task for any NHL team.
The Bruins had to make a late change to their lineup for Saturday night’s matchup at TD Garden against the Ottawa Senators when David Krejci was unable to play because of an undisclosed injury. He missed Friday’s practice, too, but he was expected to play.
“I thought he was going to play,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said when asked about Krejci participating in pregame warmups but not playing. “But he came in and we decided as a group that he wasn’t well enough to go.”
Julien would not comment on the specific issue Krejci is dealing with, but he did miss the first three games of the season with an injury.
Boston’s offense played well in Krejci’s absence, scoring four goals against the Senators in a 4-2 win. Matt Fraser, who entered the lineup when Krejci was ruled out, scored two goals in the second period to give the B’s a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
Brad Marchand scored the first goal of the game on a set play off a faceoff win by Patrice Bergeron in the first period. Marchand has three goals in his last two games and leads the team with four tallies on the season. Dennis Seidenberg added an insurance goal — his first of the season — in the third period.
The B’s attempted 62 shots Saturday, 20 more than the Senators. As the chart below shows, Boston out shot Ottawa throughout the game.
The Bruins have scored three or more goals in four consecutive games and are averaging 3.625 goals over the last eight games. They began the regular season with just six goals in their first five games.
The recent improvement in scoring production comes at a perfect time because defensemen Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller are out with injuries. The B’s will need plenty of offense to overcome the mistakes and breakdowns that will occur as a result of three young defensemen playing over 15 minutes each night.
— Matt Bartkowski once again was a healthy scratch as the Bruins decided to use recent call-ups Joe Morrow, David Warsofsky and Zach Trotman on the blue line for the second straight game. All three played well Saturday and received at least 16 minutes of ice time. Trotman earned an assist on Matt Fraser’s second goal and now has assists in two of his last three games.
“I think we’re all just taking advantage of it,” Warsofsky said when asked about being in the NHL with Trotman and Morrow. “We’re all around the same age and it’s all of our first handful of games so we’re all kind of in the same boat. We’re having fun with it and trying to play our games every night like we do in Providence and translate that up here. I think so far everyone’s done a good job.”
— The Bruins are over the .500 mark (7-6-0) for the first time since opening night. They have a good chance to climb up the standings with eight more home games in the month of November.
“I think it allowed us to build a little confidence,” Marchand said. “We got a win a couple games in a row, and this is a good team we played tonight. I thought we really battled, especially after they got that late goal in the first. It could have killed our momentum, but we came out strong in the second and it is definitely very nice to be over .500 and especially with a few more games at home here. Hopefully we can build on that.”
— Fraser had been a healthy scratch for five consecutive games before playing 10:50 alongside Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson on the third line. His two goals were scored 1:28 apart.
“I think everyone knows (Fraser) has an unbelievable shot; I think that’s what he’s known for,” Warsofsky said. “He scored 30-plus goals in the AHL and it’s obviously translating up here. So, when he’s moving his feet and getting his shot off, he’s a really effective player.
“I think the biggest thing is just he’s a hard worker. He’s put in a really tough position where he doesn’t know if he’s going to be in the lineup day in and day out. But he keeps himself well conditioned and in practice he’s doing the little things to get himself that opportunity. Obviously tonight he took advantage of it.”
— Ottawa’s Eric Gryba played his 100th NHL game. He played four years at Boston University.
— Boston is 4-1-0 when it has a lead of at least two goals. The Bruins are 6-2 when they score first, as they did Saturday.
— A Bruins forward has scored two goals in each of the last three games. Seth Griffith did it Tuesday against Minnesota, Marchand on Thursday against Buffalo and Fraser on Saturday.
— Saturday’s game was the first to include all four players acquired Tyler Seguin trade — Eriksson, Fraser, Morrow and Reilly Smith.
Photo via Amber Pearls/USA Today Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP