LOS ANGELES — In a bit of good news prior to the Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings, head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed David Krejci was good to go in their second half of their So. Cal back-to-back.
As usual, Krejci had to shake off some rust after a 10-game absence due to a back injury. He didn’t find the scoresheet but the veteran was engaged and effective in his 18:02 of ice time – more than double of his last appearance all the way back in October against the Canucks.
“I felt pretty good,” Krejci said about his return. “Obviously a lot to improve after my first game back, but I felt pretty good.”
For his first game back, Krejci looked pretty good compared than that late-October matchup against Vancouver. That night marked the only time prior to Thursday that the Bruins’ top two centers, Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, were in the lineup.
Even with a list of injuries that is bigger than an instruction manual for the board game Operation – a Rolodex that included Brad Marchand, Anders Bjork, David Backes, Ryan Spooner, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid on Thursday night – the Krejci-Bergeron dynamic proved beneficial for the Bruins against the Kings.
For one, it helps Cassidy with his lineup. Instead of being forced to use a top-heavy trio on the first line, the Bruins coaching staff now has a little more flexibility trying to mix and match with the top six, power play and penalty kill units. It also helps the third and fourth lines settle into their role and doesn’t force them to do anything more than what a checking line entails.
“You have two experienced guys that have won a Stanley Cup and have had all types of accolades, so you have your 1-2 punch,” Cassidy said about his top two centers.
“You can ask any team in the league, any coach would like to have that luxury and it’s nice to have your third and fourth [lines] as well some nights as well. Right now we have our No. 1 and 2 and right down our lineup I thought Sean Kuraly played well [against the Kings] and I thought Riley Nash [also played well]. We talked about getting contributions from the bottom of the lineup and they had to play against good players all night. We don’t run away from matchup problems and exhaust guys, and today I thought that it helped to have some zip.”
“We all know that those our are No. 1 and 2 at the center position,” added captain Zdeno Chara, who netted the game-winner and his second of the season in the second period. “It was obviously nice to have David back. You could tell that he made some contributions tonight. A player like that is obviously going to make our team better and he did. It just gives you some options for faceoffs, for power play and so on.”
For those counting at home, the Bruins are 2-0 when Bergeron and Krejci are in the lineup. Having both in their arsenal can only ease things as the injured players heal their wounds.