Bruins respond in multiple ways without David Krejci, snap 3-game losing streak

Ken Laird
December 29, 2015 - 8:49 pm

[caption id="attachment_54622" align="alignright" width="150"] Jimmy Hayes[/caption] With a three-game skid in tow, the loss of co-top point man David Krejci due to an injury, plus a Winter Classic distraction just ahead, the Bruins entered action Tuesday night against Ottawa with some causes for concern. The team's response to those concerns: a memorable 7-3 victory over the Senators at TD Garden. Exhibit A of the Bruins' response: a hat trick from the newly fourth line-assigned Jimmy Hayes, he of just the one goal in his last 21-games played entering action Tuesday. "Everyone has to step up," Hayes said afterward about life without Krejci and his 33 points through the team's first 35 games. "He was playing well, the best hockey I've seen him play. It's my first year playing with him, but playing against him he has a ton of poise and confidence. He's a guy you can't really replace. You're going to have to have the whole team step up like we did tonight to find a way to win." Exhibit B: four Boston power-play goals, with the team having gone 0-for-6 in its last four games, and Tuesday missing Krejci's hands on the top unit. "For sure, it was important," said Patrice Bergeron, with two of those power-play markers credited to him. "It's nice to have four. It was nice to come in and take what was there, not forcing plays. I thought we were doing too much of that lately. We saw a lot of different looks tonight. Everyone did their job, and you're going to need that going forward. It's about working hard and taking the plays that are there." Exhibit C: a perfect 4-for-4 night for the B's penalty kill, including a short two-man disadvantage midway through the third period in a tight game. "That was huge," said the night's winning goalie, Tuukka Rask. "We had a couple big kills there when it was 4-3. Special teams need to step up, especially late in the game, and we did. We were thinking out there, we were focused. Our system demands that everyone is focused on doing their job. It happened again tonight and that's a good sign moving on." And in a game that featured four fighting majors, six 10-minute misconducts and several physical shenanigans, the bare knuckle and emotional exhibits were evident throughout the night in the second Boston vs. Ottawa matchup in a three-day span. "Those [games] happen throughout the season," coach Claude Julien said in regard to the long penalty summary on the final box score. "You just want to see your team stick together and make sure you stick up for your teammates, and that's what we did tonight. Some people think it's team building, it's great for your group, to a certain extent it is. But you don't want to see that every game. It happened tonight, and usually those things can happen with those home and away games with the same team." Time will tell, of course, how long the Bruins can keep responding in these ways without the services of Krejci. His "upper body injury" has him listed as week-to-week. Last season Krejci missed 35 games due to injury and the Bruins missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. With Krejci in the lineup last year, the Bruins took 62 percent of their possible points (a 25-14-8 in 47 games, meaning 58 of 94 points earned). Without him, that fell to 54 percent (16-13-6 in 35 contests, or 38 of 70 points). But that was last season. Will new faces like Hayes, Matt Beleskey (also with two goals on Tuesday) and an added year's experience for the team lead to different results this time around? "I like the fact that our group is coming together," said Julien. "Even though we had lost the last three games, one of them we had a good lead and the other two we played well enough to win. Our group overall has played well the last month and a half, maybe two months now. We've just got to keep growing. We blew a lead against Buffalo, so we had to learn tonight coming into the third with a one-goal lead we had to be better. I liked the way we reacted and it showed we learned something from that loss. I've got a lot of young guys in our lineup that have to keep growing with experience, and when you see things like that as a coach it's encouraging." "Missing 'Krech,' he's a big part of our team," said Bergeron. "That's when you've got to be at your best. We were on a bit of a losing streak, we've played good hockey [recently] but didn't get the results. Tonight was the perfect example of how we need to play and how we have to respond." "It was the kind of game that everybody, when you lose such an important player to your team, everybody needs to chip in," said Max Talbot. "It's not something you mention too much, you just know. I like the way we battled tonight; these are the kind of games that bring you together. Back and forth a little bit in the first two periods, and then in the third we stepped up and closed it out."