June 11, 2013 in Sports

Krejci leads Bruins back to finals

Howard Ulman Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

David Krejci leads the NHL in goals, points this postseason.
(Full-size photo)

BOSTON – David Krejci is quietly doing what he usually does when the playoffs roll around. The Boston Bruins center is piling up points while letting teammates applaud his accomplishments.

“He’s not on billboards. He’s not a superstar. He’s not the poster boy for anybody,” forward Shawn Thornton said Monday, “but I think he likes that. He’s an unbelievable team guy that just wants to be there with his teammates. And I think that’s more important than anything.”

The 27-year-old Krejci, in his seventh season with the Bruins, has been instrumental in getting them to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in three years. His nine goals and 21 points lead the NHL in the postseason. And he’s done it in just 16 games after posting only 10 goals and 33 points in 47 games during the regular season.

He’s way ahead of his pace in 2011, when the Bruins won their first championship since 1972. His 12 goals and 23 points in 25 games also led all postseason scorers. And that followed a regular season in which he had only 13 goals and 62 points in 75 games.

“In the big games, he definitely shines,” Boston defenseman Andrew Ference said. “He’s a pretty cool customer as far as not getting too rattled about things. I think that definitely helps him in the big games and in the big moments where he doesn’t let anything anxious get into his hands or his mind when he’s making the decisions.”

He’ll resume doing that tonight against the Blackhawks in the opener of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final in Chicago.

In the first round, Krejci scored the winning goal in overtime to cap a Game 4 hat trick, giving Boston a 4-3 win over Toronto and a 3-1 lead in the series. And he scored twice as many goals, four, as all the Penguins when the Bruins swept Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference finals. Pittsburgh star forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin didn’t notch a single point in the four games.

“We knew, even before the first round, that we have something good on this team,” Krejci said.

At 6 feet and 178 pounds, Krejci isn’t an imposing figure on the ice. Instead of his brawn, he uses his speed and smarts to set up plays on offense and break them up on defense.

“He’s pretty consistent,” Thornton said. “I think he flies under the radar a little bit because of his personality, and he’s not very flashy out there. But he does a lot of little things right. He’s an extremely intelligent hockey player.”

Krejci has benefited from the trade for his idol and teammate on the 2010 Czech Olympic team, Jaromir Jagr.

The Bruins obtained Jagr from the Dallas Stars on April 2.

“Jags has come in and been a good influence on everybody. His work ethic speaks volumes,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “But for David Krejci, (it’s) probably a little bit more special because (Jagr) is a superstar in his country, a Hall of Famer, and probably the most famous Czech player ever.

“When David sees him coming in our dressing room, it’s pretty exciting. I think, right now, Jags is pretty excited about David Krejci’s play, as well.”

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