Bruins top scorer David Krejci can do it on defense and special teams, too
BY MATT KALMAN Boston Herald June 17, 2013 11:46PM
Updated: July 19, 2013 6:39AM
Everybody knows about David Krejci’s offensive game.
The Bruins center has led the NHL in postseason scoring for most of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs and entered Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final with 23 points (nine goals) in the first 18 games of the posteason.
Krejci also led the league in playoff scoring in 2011 and he has twice tied for the regular-season team lead in scoring during his Bruins career.
But all those offensive numbers can sometimes overshadow the fact that Krejci is also a solid, reliable defensive player. Observers were recently reminded of Krejci’s responsible play when coach Claude Julien picked Krejci to replace Gregory Campbell in the team’s rotation of penalty-killing forwards.
Krejci hadn’t killed penalties regularly since the 2010-11 season.
“You know, I kind of like it. It’s a little more responsibility,” Krejci said. “Our killers have been doing a pretty good job all season, all playoffs, so I’m just trying to help us as much as I can to get the penalty kill going.”
The Bruins have killed off 22 straight opposing power plays since Game 5 of the second-round series against the Rangers. Krejci has had to fill in for Campbell ever since Campbell broke his leg in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh. Some coaches might be reluctant to put his top scorer out on the penalty kill, but not Julien.
“He’s always been in all the meetings, even this year, because if one of our penalty killers was in the box, he would kill some penalties,” Julien said. “He’s very comfortable with it. I think he’s done a great job. David is a smart player. He can read off a lot of people, is able to read the plays. To me, it was not a big issue to put him in there because he’s very capable of handling more ice time.”
Even when he’s not trying to extinguish teams’ man-advantages, Krejci focuses a lot on taking care of his own end. In the Bruins’ balanced structure, they don’t employ a traditional checking line. Typically Krejci’s line and Patrice Bergeron’s line go head-to-head with the opponent’s top two lines each game.
Krejci, who has a career plus-58 rating, said he had to adjust to being a two-way player when he first got to the NHL. However, as he’s emerged as a star he’s taken as much pride in preventing goals as scoring them and setting them up. And he realized that getting a defensive stop can lead to a scoring opportunity.