David Krejci: ‘You just can’t turn it on when the playoffs come’
|03.02.12 at 8:46 am ET|
David Krejci knew full well what his February was like. Like his whole season to this point, it had been very up and down and inconsistent.
That all changed Thursday when the calendar flipped to March. The center-turned-winger was back at center and he netted his second career hat trick, finishing it off with an overtime goal that propelled the Bruins past the Devils, 4-3, in overtime.
Krejci had been in a huge slump coming in, just 13 goals, including two in 13 games in the month of February. His assist totals are also way off. He hasn’t had a helper since Jan. 31 and has 28 for the season, one reason why Julien moved him from center to wing.
But Thursday night with Tyler Seguin on his wing, Krejci was back at center. He looked reenergized and fresh, and most importantly, ready to contribute in a big way down the stretch as the Bruins try to regain their momentum for another spring title run.
“Yeah, I wasn’t thinking about it, I had two goals in the month of February,” Krejci said of his struggles in February. “But, you know, I just take it game by game. I want to do my best every game and I was feeling really good before the game and I got Segs on my line so I was excited about it. We click well together with Looch [Milan Lucic] and him and it was a good game for us. I know we had a little sloppy second period but we came back hard in the third and won the game. That was the most important thing.”
His coach has noticed an improvement of late.
“I think he’s really, he looks more comfortable right now,” Claude Julien said of Krejci. “As I’ve often said, he puts a lot of pressure on himself. He’s probably his worst enemy when things aren’t going well, and because of that, it doesn’t help him in the long run. You try and take some of that pressure off and say, ‘Listen, you’ve just got to go out there and play.’ So, when he feels good about his game, you see a big difference, and that’s what we’ve seen here.”
Like his previous two goals, his overtime goal came as the result of finding space in front of Martin Brodeur. And like his first two goals of the night his timing and positioning in front paid off.
“A little lucky that one, I guess. I was at the end of my shift, I was tired and, you know, Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] made a good play,” he said. “I kind of sensed it that he was going to throw it in front of the net and Z [Zdeno Chara] tried to jam it and I was just at the right time at the right place. I saw Brodeur was down so first thought was go upstairs and it worked that time.”
No one looked more motivated or inspired by Julien’s line shakeup than Krejci. He and Milan Lucic were placed on the same line with Tyler Seguin. The spacing and speed were apparent from the jump, as Krejci flew down the slot and scored just 73 seconds into the game.
“It just added some speed on the right side, and David went back to his same position, and so did Chris Kelly,” Julien said. “We got a lot of those guys — Kelly, Lucic and Krejci — and now I was trying to find something else.”
“He’s a good guy,” Krecji said Seguin. “You could see it on the first goal. He’s got a great vision and he found me basically wide open. So, yeah, everything. He’s got a shot, he’s got speed, vision, so he played a really strong game tonight. But one game doesn’t make a season so, forget about this one, just take the positive and try to keep it going in the next game.
“It’s one of those things, you know. They click together well, but one game doesn’t make a season, so we’ve got to keep it going. I think it got me, I found my life on the wing,” Krejci said. “I got a little more place to skate and I tried to bring that to my roll tonight when I was playing center. So it always helps me to play with two speedy guys, Looch and Seggy [Seguin]. And Seggy reminded me a little bit of Horty [Nathan Horton] tonight so, you know, I was really excited before the game and they click well together so hopefully they can keep it going next games.”
As for the bigger picture, the Bruins took advantage of one of their four games in hand on second-place Ottawa in the Northeast and moved three points ahead of the Senators in the division.
“It would be nice to win a few in a row,” Krejci said. “You know, we’ve been kind of battling, one win one loss in past months so we’ve got to get comfortable here in the room and try to get on a roll. You know, this is a really important time of the season and we’ve got to get in great shape before the playoff comes.
“You know, you can’t just turn the switch on when the playoff comes. You’ve got to start now. It’s 20 games to go, every game is important and you can’t take a day off here, since now until the end of the season. You’ve got to go out there, do your best and try to get ready as much as you can for the playoffs.”