It’s safe to say that Torey Krug broke out of his slump in grand fashion.
The last few weeks were not all too eventful for the young defenseman. Although he’s known more for his offense, Krug’s play in his own end got worse in the last five games or so committing several turnovers and setting up the opposition with good scoring chances.
His turnover Saturday afternoon in the first period led to Dustin Byfuglin’s ninth of the season at 10:54. But Krug bounced back nicely after that when he fed Daniel Paille with a beautiful pass to tie the game at 1-1 just 3:12 later.
It was smooth sailing for Krug from there against the Jets as the 5-foot-9 defenseman who scored for the first time since December 8th and gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead at 3:08 of the second – thanks to a screen be Justin Florek, who was the sixth player playing in his first NHL game this season with the Black and Gold. Krug added his 10th of the year just 4:10 later – with Soderberg screening Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec – to put him in a tie with Shea Weber and Erik Karlsson for most goals in the league among defensemen.
Not bad for a guy who had a maintenance day on Friday.
“It was frustrating to when you lose your tendency on the ice and the puck goes in front of your own net,” Krug said about the events leading up to his three point afternoon, a career high for him in a single game. “It’s all about putting it in the past, and making plays moving forward and I did today.”
Krug’s performance didn’t stop head coach Claude Julien from making a little sarcastic remark with amidst his praise.
“He was terrible, two goals, one assist,” laughed Julien, who coached in his 500th game in Saturday’s 4-1 win.
“He handled himself well. When he’s on top of his game offensively, he makes things happen. Those two games he scored – good job by both Florek and Soderberg to screen the goaltender – was on net, and the safe plays we’ve worked on a lot still need to be worked on. But I liked his game a lot tonight.”
Krug’s game started dropped when Team USA coach Dan Bylsma mentioned that he was on the Olympic team radar before the first Bruins-Penguins meeting of the season on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Even though his humility was in full display in the aftermath of Bylsma’s comment, Krug can shift his complete focus back to where it should be: with the Black and Gold.
Saturday’s performance was a good start for that, even in front of Brian Burke.
In the first two months of the 2013-14 campaign Krug helped the team win with an overtime clincher against the Penguins – the same day he drew praise from Bylsma – and helped improve the Bruins power play get to the upper echelon of the league.
After shaky performances the last few weeks, Krug bounced back and helped the Black and Gold get their 28th win of the season.
See what Torey Krug and other Bruins had to say about their victory this afternoon: