Over the Boston Bruins’ first 12 games this season, David Krejci committed just one minor penalty. He committed three Saturday night, and the third cost his team the game.
The Bruins and Montreal Canadiens were tied with less than two minutes remaining in the third period when Krejci hit Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec with a cross-check to the upper back.
That earned the veteran center two minutes in the penalty box, and Montreal, which already had scored one power-play goal earlier in the game, victimized Boston’s dismal penalty-killing unit once again.
David Desharnais put the go-ahead goal past Bruins goalie Jonas Gustavsson with 1:08 to play, and Max Pacioretty potted an empty-netter 20 seconds later to clinch a 4-2 victory for the Canadiens.
Krejci, an alternate captain and typically one of Boston’s more level-headed players, expressed regret over his lapse in judgement when speaking with reporters after the game.
“A stupid penalty,” he said. “Two minutes left, tie game. Guys battled hard, and then I do something like that. It was stupid, and it cost us the game.
“… It’s extremely disappointing, especially when I thought guys did a very good job playing hard. And then you do something stupid, and you let everyone down. It’s not a very good feeling.”
On the topic of whether he believed Plekanec embellished his fall to draw a whistle, Krejci declined to comment.
“That’s not really the point right now,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter. It was a stupid penalty, and now I’ve got to live with that. I feel bad for letting my teammates and my coaches down.”
Head coach Claude Julien, who’s watched bad penalties doom his team in consecutive games, clearly was not pleased with Krejci’s miscues, even going as far as to call him out in a postgame interview with NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley.
“(The difference was) discipline, obviously,” Julien said. “That’s two nights in a row where we’ve blown games or we’ve lost games because of a lack of discipline here. The ill-advised penalties (in Thursday’s loss to the Washington Capitals) that put us down 3-1, and (Saturday night), you’ve got a tie game, and you take a penalty with a minute left.
“It’s disappointing, because it’s coming from our leaders. And our leaders have to lead the way, and I don’t think we’re leading the way properly right now.”
Saturday’s loss was the Bruins’ third in a row, and it extended their regular-season losing streak against the Canadiens to seven games. Poor penalty-killing has been an unfortunate theme of Boston’s season, as it ranks last in the NHL with 14 power-play goals allowed in 13 games.
“I thought we played really well,” Julien said.”We played well enough that we could have won the game (Saturday night). So, that’s the disappointing part about this outcome is how we shot ourselves in the foot. You wonder why the team we played (Saturday night) is in first place? Well, they find ways to win. And right now, I’d say we’ve found ways to lose in the last two games.”
Thumbnail photo via Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports Images