When the Bruins needed it the most, Torey Krug delivered.
With the Rangers gaining momentum after goals from Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan, the Bruins seemed to have hit a lull early in the third period in Game 1 Thursday night. After all, those two tallies came with 1.5 seconds left in the second period and 14 ticks into the third, respectively.
But in his first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance, Krug provided a spark. His power play tally at 2:55 – just 2:41 after Stepan’s third of the postseason – tied the game at 2-2 and gave energy right back to the Bruins.
It was a game changer that the Bruins needed in their 3-2 overtime winner.
“I just remember moving the puck to Marshy [Brad Marchand], and he was getting in the zone with speed and he curled up and gave it to Dougie [Hamilton],” Krug said about his first career postseason tally. “Dougie made a great play by drawing the guy out to him and then he slid it over to me. I had a lot of time to make that shot.”
Usually in these clutch situations, the Bruins rely upon their veterans to deliver from Nathan Horton to Brad Marchand (who scored the game-winner at 15:40 of overtime). But on a night where the B’s were without defensemen Wade Redden, Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference, Krug, Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski all filled in nicely for the veterans who were out due to injury.
For Krug in particular, the timing of his goal couldn’t have been scripted any better.
“For his first goal, he couldn’t have asked for better timing,” head coach Claude Julien said. “It just shows how good of a player he is…He’s certainly done a great job of coming into this situation and playing the way that he normally does. We asked him to do that, and that’s exactly what he did.”
“It was huge. We really needed that,” added Marchand, who’s game-winner was his first of the postseason. “Him [Krug] and Dougie did a great job back there tonight, and that goal was huge for our team to tie it up and take us into overtime. And it was a great job by him.”
Getting the callup from Providence isn’t anything new for Krug. The former Michigan State Spartan has three NHL regular season games under his belt, including one earlier this season against the Montreal Canadiens.
There’s still time for Krug to add even more accomplishments to his National Hockey League resume. But his first impression on the big stage was quite impressive.
“The goal was a bonus, but I think he’s an offensive defenseman that has some skills. So you kind of expect that out of him,” said Bartkowski, who’s spent the majority of the season with Krug in Providence. “He’s really mature for his age. He could easily be like 27 for all we know, but he’s just a good solid defenseman.”
Playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a dream for any hockey player. Making a bigger contribution makes that a little extra special.
It’s safe to say that Krug enjoyed every moment of his 16:41 of ice time in his first playoff contest.
“It was amazing,” Krug said. “I’ve said it before that my main goal is to come in here and try to help the team win, and I was fortunate enough to do that.”