The Boston Bruins’ offense broke out in a big way Friday night, beating the St. Louis Blues’ vaunted goaltending duo a half-dozen times to secure a win they desperately needed.
Leading the charge was center David Krejci, who scored two of Boston’s goals and assisted on two others in the first regular-season four-point effort of his career.
“He was extremely good — no doubt,” head coach Claude Julien told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley after his Bruins held off a late Blues rally to win 6-5 at the Scottrade Center. “When David puts his mind to it, he can certainly lead a hockey club, and he was strong in all areas there (Friday night). Really dependable. And when he’s the best player on that line, you know that line’s going to have success, and that’s what he did for us (Friday night).”
Krejci’s first goal — a cleanup of a Matt Beleskey rebound he slid past Blues goalie Brian Elliott — gave the Bruins their first lead of the night late in the first period. His second — a power-play tally — made it 5-2 Bruins with less than two minutes remaining in the second frame.
The Bruins’ three-goal second period prompted Blues coach Ken Hitchcock to pull Elliott during second intermission. Backup Jake Allen played the final 20 minutes in net.
St. Louis, which had allowed just one goal over its previous five games, stormed back to score three times in the third, but the Bruins got an additional power-play goal from center Patrice Bergeron with 3:24 remaining — assisted by Krejci, of course — to escape with the win.
“Just keeping it simple,” Krejci told NESN rinkside reporter Sarah Davis after the game. “Just play the way we should — drive the net, shoot the puck as much as I can. And it was one of those nights that the puck went in for me. It was obviously nice, but I’m more happy that we got the two points.”
The two goals equaled Krejci’s total from his previous 22 games, and the two points allowed the Bruins to maintain their razor-thin lead over the Detroit Red Wings for the Atlantic Division’s final guaranteed playoff spot. Boston sits in third place in the division with four games to play, one point ahead of the fourth-place Red Wings, who kept pace by knocking off the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Friday night.
“It was a big win,” Krejci said. “We don’t look in the past, we live in the present, and it was a big win. We got six goals (Friday night), and hopefully we can build some confidence for our next game and get another two points.”
The Bruins will visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday in their final road game of the regular season before returning home for their final three contests. The middle game of that season-ending homestand is a matchup with the Red Wings that could very well decide which team’s season will continue.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Bruins center David Krejci