The Boston Bruins look to have a legitimate, lethal second line in David Krejci, Craig Smith and Taylor Hall.
The trio combined for five points in the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at TD Garden. The victory put Boston six points ahead of the fifth-place New York Rangers for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division.
Krejci and Hall each had a goal, while Smith had two assists.
The 35-year-old Krejci looks like a completely different player. Could it be a result of having consistent wingers? Is Hall exactly what he needed? Maybe. But either way, it’s caught the attention of Bruce Cassidy.
“He’s reenergized in terms of attacking,” the head coach said after the game. “(His assist on Hall’s goal) was an all-world play, beating guys 1-on-1. But he’s moving his feet and going north a little more. He’s got a guy on his left wing that can bomb down the wing, a guy on his right wing that can skate. So, I’d say the biggest thing is his pace. He’s playing with a little more pace, his wingers maybe are forcing him to do that. He’s making plays and finishing plays while he’s doing it.”
Here’s the “all-world play” Cassidy was referencing:
Krejci historically plays his best hockey in the playoffs. And if the best is yet to come, then he’s going to be awfully dangerous. For what it’s worth, he has six goals and four assists since the trade deadline.
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Bruins-Sabres game:
— Hall’s goal certainly was a fun one to watch. And even though Cassidy is the coach of the Bruins, he still enjoyed it as a fun of hockey.
“As a fan of the game I appreciate it, I just want them to happen for us,” he said.
— Charlie Coyle ended his longest scoreless drought of his NHL career with the game-winning goal.
The third-line center went 28 games without lighting the lamp, but it never really bothered him too much.
“It’s not about me and scoring goals, it’s about the team winning,” Coyle said. “It’s about me bringing what I need for the team to play well. … It’s not something that was weighing on me because it’s not about me. It’s about the team.”
— Brad Marchand added some extra insurance with a shorthanded empty-net goal.
The top-line winger has been incredible on the penalty kill, and moved himself into some NHL history with the goal.
According to StatsCentre, Marchand has tied Bill Barber for both the most career shorthanded points” as well as shorthanded goals in the history of NHL left wingers.
— For those keeping an eye on the standings: The New York Islanders defeated the Rangers on Thursday to hold the slim one-point lead over the Bruins for third place in the East Division.