Extra Beats: Bruins, Krejci March Over The Penguins

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The Boston Bruins jumped all over the Pittsburgh Penguins early and often, scoring five goals in the first period and adding three more in the second, in a 8-4 rout of the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Nine Bruins had two points or more and were led by center David Krejci’s first hat trick of the season and sixth of his career.

Thanks to the Lightning’s 5-4 overtime win over the Stars, the Bruins still trail the first place Bolts by six points but have three games in hand on Tampa Bay. The B’s will host their arch-rivals, the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at TD Garden.

1.) Krejci Gets Tricky On Pens – First it was Riley Nash being the center that stepped up in the absence of Patrice Bergeron as the versatile pivot had a goal and an assist in the 4-3 overtime win over the Hurricanes. On Thursday, it was Krejci, who as mentioned above, lit the lamp three times for the sixth hat trick of his career, with his last one coming almost four years ago on March 4, 2014. Krejci now has four goals and two assists in his last five games and 14 goals and 33 points this season. If he can stay hot while Bergeron is out and into the playoffs – where he always shines the brightest – that will be huge for the Bruins.

2.) As ‘Meatloaf’ Once Sang, “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”

Tuesday, in their first game after Bergeron was ruled out for at least two weeks with a fractured foot, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were held pointless. The two healthy members of arguably the best line in the NHL this season didn’t take too long to find their groove though as they combined for five points and were making things happen in the offensive zone throughout the game. Pastrnak finished with two goals and an assist and Marchand had two helpers, assisting on one of his linemate’s goals.

 

3.) Power-Play Found It’s Power Again

The Bruins much-maligned power-play has power once again! After going 2-for-32 in their last eleven games and not connecting for a power play tally in their last six heading into Thursday, the Bruins went 3-for-5 on the man advantage against Pittsburgh. Krejci scored two of his three goals on the power-play and Rick Nash added another. That had head coach Bruce Cassidy feeling good about the man advantage for the first time in a while.

“Yeah, we talked about it yesterday and the day before and the day before that and so on,” Cassidy said with a laugh after the game. “Well, we executed better. That’s a start, right? You make good passes and you win pucks, you’re playing in the O-zone, and you’re forcing the team to defend, so I think that’s the start of it.”

4.) Forget The TB12 Diet; What About The Big Z Diet?

Zdeno Chara will be 41-years old March 18 and yet somehow at the end of a three-minute shift 10:50 into the second period, Chara was able to toe-to-toe with fellow giant, 6’7, 255-pound Jamie Oleksiak after Oleksiak took liberties with Jake DeBrusk earlier in the shift. Oh, by the way, the Bruins captain also had two helpers and now has 13 assists and 19 points on the season. How does the veteran defenseman do it?

“Unbelievable. I talked about that in the locker room (after the game),” Cassidy said when asked about the freak of nature that Chara is. “That is unbelievable, the physical conditioning that guy is in. He has played a lot up to that point, too; it’s not like he’s been sitting around for half the game. ‘Zee’, he has got some energy. Good for him. I think he wanted to talk to Hornqvist, too, on that hit on Charlie [McAvoy], as well. Zee had some passion – well, he always does, but he had a little more tonight.”

5.) Newbies Fitting In Just Fine

Don Sweeney’s trades leading into the recent NHL Trade Deadline keep panning out as the newbies on the team seems to be fitting in just fine. For the second straight game Rick Nash lit the lamp and also assisted on Krejci’s first goal of the night in the first period. Meanwhile, forward Brian Gionta and defenseman Nick Holden had instant impacts in their Bruins debuts.

Gionta assisted on David Backes’s first period and had a beautiful redirect pass (off a Charlie McAvoy shot) to Krejci on the hat trick goal.

Holden, paired with fellow rearguard Brandon Carlo got a helper on Krejci’s second goal. He looked comfortable in the Bruins’ system and played with plenty of poise.

6.) Offense From The Blue Line

One of the keys to winning in today’s NHL is getting offense from your blue line and that’s just what the Bruins got Thursday as their defense combined for a goal and six assists. Chara had two assists; Krug a goal and an assist; Holden has an assist and McAvoy had two helpers as well.

“It was one of those games where we were able to make some plays and some nice set-ups,” Chara said It’s not going to happen every game, but it’s nice when you have that help from the back-end. Following-up plays and joining the rush and being part of the offensive zone play. It’s obviously something that you want to have – five guys being included.”