Bruins not getting enough from top line against Habs
MONTREAL – Through three games of their best-of-seven series with their Atlantic Division rivals, the Bruins haven’t got much production from their top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla. The trio has combined for just two goals-Lucic’s Game 2 empty net goal, and Iginla’s third period tip-in that proved to be too little too late as the Bruins dropped Game 3 at the Bell Centre, 4-2.
During the regular season no line in hockey performed better than the Bruins’ top line as the trio combined for 63 goals. If the Bruins are to go anywhere in this series, they will need more from the Krejci line.
The biggest issue in the series has been how often the Bruins have fell behind, especially early in the game and with multi-goal deficits. Playing with the lead, Montreal has played tight defense, blocking a lot of shots in the process. The Canadiens have done a great job slowing down the Krejci line, especially with the lead.
Krejci certainly knows that coming out strong and avoiding falling into an early deficit will help his line open things up and hopefully help he and his line mates put pucks in the net.
“We have to correct that,” said Krejci of the early deficits.” We really need to focus on what we have to do and we thought we were ready off the bat, but obviously we weren’t.”
From Iginla’s Game 1 missed open-net to Krejci’s Game 2 breakaway(s) to Lucic’s Game 3 ringing of the post, the chances were there, the trio just needs to find ways to cash in on those chances.
Much credit has to be given to Carey Price, who has been the difference maker in the series. But a lot of blame can also be aimed towards the Bruins’ top line for not being able to capitalize on their opportunities.
“Yeah you know what, it is what it is,” said Krejci in regards to the missed opportunities. “I mean obviously we are trying and it’s not going in the net for us.”
It was also a rough night for Krejci at the faceoff dot. Usually a solid faceoff guy for the Bruins, Krejci won just four of 14, a 29 percent success rate.
Through three games, the Bruins have struggled in the game’s first two periods. But once the third period rolls around, the Bruins seem to find their game. It nearly worked in Game 1 before coming through for them in Game 2, but the Bruins know that falling behind early is a recipe for disaster.
“Yeah, we seemed like we find our game in the third period, but we have to play 60-minutes,” Krejci added. “We have to have a good start and we’ve been playing from behind off the bat in the first three games. We have to make sure we keep them off the score sheet for as long as we can and try to get the first goal.”
The Stanley Cup playoffs usually bring out the best in Krejci and because of this, his line mates benefit from it. We’ve seen the success Lucic and former top line winger Nathan Horton have had in previous playoff runs for the Bruins. Krejci and the Bruins hope that their top line center can find his game again, and help get the two guys next to him get going.
The 28-year old Krejci knows the team needs to be better if they plan of winning the series. The Bruins will look to put this tough loss behind them, regroup, and come out better Thursday night in Game 4, a night where the Bruins will look to even the series up at two games apiece before heading back to Boston for Game 5 Saturday night.
“Lots of us can be a lot better, including myself,” stated Krejci.
“So were down 2-1 and obviously we are frustrated right now, but this series is not over. We just need to regroup tomorrow, have a good day and come back here on Thursday.”
Coming back strong on Thursday can very well be the difference in the series. If I was a betting man, I would bet the Bruins come out with their best game of the series in Game 4, they pretty much have to.