David Krejci feels breakthrough coming: ‘My time is about to come and I’m going to be big for my team’
|05.12.14 at 1:35 pm ET|
MONTREAL — It’s not often that you hear professional athletes in any sport make a prediction, but David Krejci couldn’t help but make one Monday morning before Game 6 against the Canadiens.
With his team one win away from the Eastern Conference finals, the man who has led the Bruins in playoff scoring since 2011 feels a breakout is coming. Krejci, with only three assists and a minus-3 rating in 10 playoff games so far, says he owes a debt of gratitude to his linemates Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla and his teammates, in general, for picking him up so far in these playoffs.
“That’s what you need in the playoffs. You need different guys to step up,” Krejci said. “I believe my time is about to come and I’m going to be big for my team. I owe to it these guys, so I’m going to do everything I can to start tonight.
“It feels like it’s right there. We have to execute on our chances. We have to start putting the puck in the net more often. My linemates have been doing a pretty good job at it. They’ve been great for me all year. I want to return the favor for them and I’m going to try and be better for them.”
Krejci’s only point this series was an assist on Lucic’s empty-netter in Game 2. That’s a far cry from the production that made him a better postseason producer than anyone else in 2011 and 2013. Yet he’s also been tasked with some tough assignments throughout the playoffs, such as keeping Pavel Datsyuk quiet in the first round.
“He’s a character guy and demanding of himself. He’s been a good player for us all year,” Claude Julien said. “Just because he hasn’t scored yet doesn’t mean he doesn’t care and he doesn’t try. You have to work with those guys and try to help them find solutions. A lot of it has to come from them. If he’s that focused, that’s a good sign for us.
“He’s usually pretty quiet. He’s frustrated. I know him well enough to know. He doesn’t show it. He just goes about his business. But he also knows that it’s a matter of time before things start going a little bit better for him. That reaction says a lot about him.”
Iginla had a big power-play goal in the Game 5 win Saturday in Boston while Lucic’s empty-netter put away Game 2. Whether it’s on the power play, shorthanded, even strength or empty net, Krejci knows the Bruins could use his firepower in Game 6 at Bell Centre.
Brad Marchand can relate with Krejci. Marchand is also without a goal in 10 playoff games this year, but with five assists. Like Krejci, Marchand has been all around the net with chances but no puck luck.
“Guys go through that,” Marchand said of Krejci. “I’m going through the same thing right now. Sometimes, pucks just don’t go in but you’re all around it. Then other times, everything you shoot goes in. He’s a phenomenal player, one of our leaders and one of our best players. He still playing great right now. He’s getting opportunities and making plays, and that’s what we need from him, and eventually it’s going to go in.
“You look at him in the last few years in the playoffs, he dominates. He’s always our top scorer and I’m sure when he gets one, he’s going to get a bunch and everything will start going in for him. He’s got to keep playing the same way. He’s playing great.”
“We’re ready, really excited, and we know it’s going to be tough,” Krejci said. “They have to play their best hockey of the season and we’re aware of it. But we have to play our best hockey of the season as well. So, we’re ready and we’re excited to go tonight.
“It always is [desperation]. It brings the best out of the other team and it also has to bring the best out of your team. There’s no tomorrow. We just have to go out there and leave all the energy out on the ice, leave your heart out there and see what happens. It’s important, obviously. When the team has a wall against their back, they always play well. There’s no tomorrow for them. We have to play just like them, just go out there. Don’t think about tomorrow, do the job tonight and see what happens.”
Why does Krejci feel so confident?
“I’m ready to go,” he added. “I’m excited. It’s been kind of a tough playoff for me so far, so I want to get going, get better every practice, every game. I’m ready to go and give it my all.”
So ready, as a matter of fact, Krejci was on the ice a full 10 minutes before other Bruins for Monday morning’s pregame skate. Now, it’s a matter of making his words and deeds count.
Video below: Krejci skates on the ice by himself and works faceoff drills against Carl Soderberg as assistant coach Doug Jarvis drops the puck.