Bruins' Krejci centre of attention

Boston Bruins centre David Krejci. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger, file)

Boston Bruins centre David Krejci. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger, file)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:21 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA - Things started to fall apart for the Boston Bruins a year ago when they lost centre David Krejci with a dislocated wrist.

The Bruins were up on the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 in their best-of-seven series and Krejci, then just-turned 24, was the Bruins best player.

He had a goal and two assists in two games plus three shifts into Game 3 which is when he collided with Philly’s Mike Richards and was lost for the rest of the series.

Certainly one guy does not a team make.

But with both centres Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron at that time far from the being at their best because of concussion-related issues, the falloff from Krejci to the level of those two players was a lot greater than it would be today, at least in the case of Bergeron (Savard’s career might be over after being concussed again and his contribution is now limited to texting power-play tips to coach Claude Julien).

It was the tipping point of the series. The Bruins went on to win that game without him, but lost Game 4 in overtime and, well, you know what happened after that.

The Bruins lost Krejci and the Flyers got Simon Gagne back for Game 4 and it was an important subtraction and addition. Gagne scored the winner in overtime in Game 4 and the winner in Game 7 and had another two goals in the last four games of the series. The Flyers went on to win the series and went into the record books.

In Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal Saturday, the Flyers were quick to remind Krejci about what happened last year, the intimation being it could happen again.

“Obviously the other guys from the other team let me know in the first period about last year, but I try to forget about these things. We were yapping back and forth, and they were letting me know,” said Krejci, who had two goals and two assists in the B’s 7-3 win. “But it’s a new year, a new series and we have so many new players on this team. We didn’t talk about it that much. We just focused on (the) game.”

Krejci was the best player on the ice in Game 1. He now has three goals and four assists in his last three playoff games (and three shifts) against the Flyers.

No wonder they were trying to get inside his head in Game 1.

It will likely continue in Game 2 Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Just which goaltender Krejci and the rest of the Bruins will firing at remains to be seen, but the thinking out of the Flyers camp going into Monday’s game is Game 1 starter Brian Boucher (five goals on 23 shots) will get a shot at redemption. Maybe if Sergei Bobrovsky had done better than give up two goals on 10 shots in relief, he might have gotten the nod.

The Flyers have now had six goaltending changes in their last 14 playoff games.

Not that Boucher was alone in needing to improve his game. He gave up a couple of cupcake rebounds, but too often found himself in the company of the likes of Krejci and Bruins forward Nathan Horton and none of his Flyers teammates.

“It leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” said Flyers forward Scott Hartnell. “Our effort and competitiveness wasn’t there as it should be. We’re playing for the Stanley Cup. Myself personally, it was a terrible effort.

“They outhit us, outfaced-off us, they did everything better than us. We embarrassed ourselves in front of our fans. We have a lot of pride in this dressing room. We’re going to come back the next game all fired up.”

The Flyers will come with a better effort Monday, no question.

The Bruins and Krejci, knowing what happened last spring, will be ready for it.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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