The Boston Bruins nearly let Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets slip away before Charlie Coyle came to the rescue. They earned the overtime victory without David Krejci’s services after taking a hit from former teammate Riley Nash.
Krejci also escaped Game 1 relatively unscathed as the Bruins listed him as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The veteran Czech centerman returned to the ice during the Bruins’ pregame skate on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.
The two-time postseason scoring champion took his usual spot on the second line with Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen during line rushes. He also returned to the second power play unit alongside DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy during special teams drills.
Bruce Cassidy listed Krejci as a game-time decision for Game 2. Judging from the morning skate, though, Krejci looks ready to go barring any last-minute developments.
“Krejci will be a game-time decision,” the third-year Bruins coach said. “So far he got through the morning skate and that’s a positive. Felt good when he came in this morning. Positive. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed…”
The Bruins enter Game 2 looking to take a 2-0 lead over a rusty, but formidable, Blue Jackets squad nearly two weeks removed from sweeping the Lightning. They know Columbus won’t be as rusty as they were in the first period of Game 1.
The Blue Jackets got their skating legs going in the second and third period. They easily could’ve stolen Game 1 after taking a 2-1 third period lead on tip-ins from Brandon Dubinsky and Pierre-Luc Dubois just 13 seconds apart.
The Bruins dominated play for a good chunk of the first period and early into the second. Yet, Coyle saved the day with his tying and OT winners. Now they hope for a consistent 60-minute effort Saturday night in front of a nationally televised audience.
“Everything changes quickly in the playoffs. Go out there and play our game,” Krejci said about the Game 2 mindset. “We know that it wasn’t their best [performance], especially early on. They were coming off, I don’t know, 10 days off, so we know they’re going to be better. But we need to be even better than we were last game.”
Krejci and company saw that first hand during last year’s first round series with the Lightning. The Bruins earned a Game 1 win against a Tampa squad that hadn’t played in a week. Krejci and company lost the next four, including Games 3 and 4 at home.
This year scenario’s against Columbus is a bit different. The Bruins have home ice on their side for Game 2, unlike this time last year where they traveled to Central Florida to start the series.
They’ve won the last two in front of the 17,565 capacity crowd at TD Garden. The Bruins, with a deeper and more productive bottom-six, look to make it three in a row and earn a 2-0 series lead over John Tortorella’s bunch Saturday night.
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