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Bruins need more from ‘KIL Line,’ especially Krejci

May 6, 2014, 10:48 PM EDT

Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins - Game Two Getty Images

Boston Bruins center David Krejci was starting to develop a reputation for making significant leaps from nice regular season offensive production to elite work in the playoffs. If this postseason’s trends continue, his two breakout playoff runs may instead be branded as anomalies.

A Killer regular season

Oddly enough, Krejci is struggling to score – zero goals, just three assists in eight postseason games – after enjoying the best regular season of his NHL career. Krejci set a new career-high with 69 points in 2013-14 as his “KIL Line” with Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic often terrorized opposing defenses.

Iginla had 30 goals and 61 points, Krejci generated 19 tallies among his 69 points and Lucic produced 24 goals and 59 points. While none of them were point-per-game players, the trio was a real handful to deal with and scored important goals; they combined for an impressive 19 game-winners this season.

You can quibble about Iginla, 36, and Lucic, 25, experiencing their ups and downs during this postseason, yet they’ve been productive. Lucic assisted on Iginla’s 3-2 goal from Game 3 that at least gave the Bruins a shot at tying things up and both power forwards already have a game-winner apiece in these playoffs.

One may even argue that Lucic has been as good as ever in the postseason, at least on paper; the forceful power forward is just a step short of a point-per-game with seven in eight.

The good and the bad for Krejci

So, really, it’s tough not to turn the focus toward Krejci.

While there are some signs that things are getting better, the Bruins would surely like to see more from him. The good news is that all three of the 28-year-old’s playoff points came in the last five games. He provided some optimistic words to before Game 3, too:

“I feel great,” Krejci said. “I feel like I’ve been skating well and controlling the game for the most part. The puck isn’t going in the net for me, but as long as my lineys are hot – or my teammates – it’s all good.”

As the piece notes, he’s also drawn the unenviable matchups of frequently facing off against strong centers in Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Plekanec.

So, long story short, there are reasons to believe that Krejci’s name will end up in the right spots on box scores more often going forward. Still, there’s little denying that his team expects as much and that his critics will only start to pile up if the points start to trickle in.

NBC’s Mike Milbury provided the “KIL Line” with a fair critique after Game 3, for one:

Krejci’s situation isn’t as dire as three points in eight games might indicate, but at some point, he’ll need to break through or face some serious heat … especially if Boston’s overall situation doesn’t improve.

  1. penszone757 - May 6, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Very surprised at how Krejci has been playing. He usually picks up his game in the playoffs but so far in this postseason he is just not producing at all.

  2. vanindeed - May 6, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    Aside from Iginla this team unlikeable. Mtl in 5

    • Moop - May 6, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      Honest question, not trying to be a dick even though I’m a Bruins fan. Why are they unlikeable?

      • vanindeed - May 7, 2014 at 12:06 AM

        They slash and hack and mug teams until the refs stop calling it. Then “Bruins hardnosed hockey” wins the day

      • jdlinder11 - May 7, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        Completely honest answer, I don’t like the coaches style. I think he is a bit of a sore loser. He tends to criticize things like the officiating a lot, which is a poor excuse. Putting his goons out there for the final face-off just to get some cheap shots in after the game was lost is just bad taste.

      • freestyle1022 - May 7, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        jd, when the Bruins are dead last in the NHL all season long in PP opportunities, there’s at least reasoning behind that from Claude. Some gamesmanship during the playoffs as well.

        Bruins would rather play the 5on5 game anyways.

    • tomasdoughberle - May 7, 2014 at 8:31 AM

      Yeah Bergeron is a douche too right?

    • steelpenbucs87 - May 7, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      Likability = Playoff Success.


      • vanindeed - May 7, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        Just an observation

  3. slaugin - May 6, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    If Krejci had some line mates that could finish he’d have at least an assist a game, Lucic and Iginla are whiffing chance after chance, their goal stats are misleading

    • c9castine - May 6, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      marchand too. ive seen him miss like 7 half empty nets i feel like.

    • valoisvipers - May 7, 2014 at 1:01 AM

      Iggy has hit a huge number of goalposts in this series, not credited as a shoy on net buy can hardly be called a whiff. I suspect those whiffs you refer to were from passes into his feet.

  4. jrkenn86 - May 7, 2014 at 1:16 AM

    Marchand needs to step up Louis Ericksson needs to step up, chris Kelly needs to get back in the game, iginla needs to step up, and i agree the wiffing is killing me

  5. tlndma - May 7, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    This line plays it’s best hockey when Lucic is throwing his weight around. Right now they are trying to be finesse players and make “pretty” plays coming over the blue line. Dump the puck and smash the Montreal D and the puck will start to go in.

  6. crusty14 - May 7, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    When did he put goons out on the final play? You must be watching different games than I .

    • dropthepuckeh - May 7, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      Claude started Thornton line after the ENG for Montreal. Some pushing and shoving but nothing like the big boys in the WEST…

  7. wishingtonredslur - May 7, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Should have been 6 on 4 Boston power play (hit on Iginla) with a penalty shot (Subban and the net) in the last two minutes. Not sure how the officiating was for the rest of the game but it wasn’t hot in the last two minutes. FYI I wouldn’t go picking fights with Jerome Iginla, he will either knock your but down or light your goalie up.

    • titansbro - May 7, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      eh, i gotta disagree with you. i didn’t see anything wrong with the hit on iginla & i’m a bruins fan. it was a big, violent hit for sure, but all in all it was clean.

      • holymakinaw - May 8, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        if every bruin fan was as honest as you, there would actually be some interesting and honest debates going on in this forum..kudos to you my friend!

  8. dboldave - May 7, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I was glad that penalties really didn’t factor into this game because it’s all people talked about once the series shifted to Montreal. Top line needs to play like the top line. I’ve said this before and I stand by it, this team goes as Krejci goes. He may not always score goals but when he is making plays, this team is almost always on the winning side of the score.

    Rask needs to be better too. I expect him to stop at least one of those breakaways.

  9. pats2001 - May 7, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    i was at game 1 and even then we noticed something was off with krejci. he looks tired, slow and even disinterested at times. i’ll never give up on the Bruins in any series, but there’s not much good of anything i can say about their effort right now. that was a steal of a win in game 2 (yes, you need games like that on occassion) but just a horrific effort last night. everyone’s favorite analyst, mike milbury, hit the nail on the head after the game when he talked about the B’s seemingly thinking they can go down big early in a game and still come back.

    still a ways to go, but it’s no longer a “long series.” i have faith that they’ll at least pick up the effort in game 4, because they havent played remotely close to a full 60 minutes yet in this series. credit to subban and the habs for dominating the series thus far…but not time to hit the panic button…yet.

    • dropthepuckeh - May 7, 2014 at 10:36 AM

      I think it is easy to pick on Krejci because he alway looks like he is dogging it. I think its just his style of play, he slows the game down and never looks like he is trying but he is usually very effective. Part of this is them not delivering but a big part of it is having to play against the opposing team’s best shut down line and D pairing. Look at what’s going on with Crosby. The Bruins spend a ton of time focusing on the opposing team’s top line and matching Chara with them, its no different the other way.

      I think this line will be fine, they have had plenty of chances and have been a little snake bitten but a couple of those posts go in and we aren’t even having the conversation. My concern is on defense and the total collapse on several occasions in this series. Chara looks slow and the young guys, minus Krug, look too hesitant. They are bringing the puck back behind the net too much and not executing the quick pass out like the did for so much of the season. Why Meszaros is out there, on the PK no less, is beyond me.

      • pats2001 - May 7, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        agreed about meszaros, get him outta there. i know bartkowski has made some mental mistakes from time to time, but he’s a much better skating dman than meszaros and who knows maybe him sitting the last two games will light a fire under him to play better. like i said above, not panic button time just yet, but if this play keeps up i’ll be pushin it very soon

      • pats2001 - May 7, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        btw, is marchand still on the team? haven’t really seen much of him lately

        i know it’s necessary, but god i hate the time in between games…i want this resolved right now.

  10. wishingtonredslur - May 7, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Titansbro – He was 12 feet from the puck and had already been taken out of the play.

  11. jrkenn86 - May 9, 2014 at 12:48 AM

    Not to mention these games suck to watch when Mike Emrick isnt doing the play by play lol! Good win tonight stiil need more pucks going in the nets but the congestion was better amd overall D

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