In the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Bruins selected with their second round pick (#63 overall), David Krejci from the Kladno Jrs. of the Czech Republic. Probably few of us were thinking that 16 years later, this young man would still be making his presence felt on the ice, as one of the top playmakers in the Bruins franchise. Despite leaving the NHL and Boston, to go back home and play a full season in the Czech Elite league, his return to Boston and the signing of a 2022-23 one million dollar contract, proved to be a welcome addition to the locals roster, already in search of a top center. Proof of his worth is shown in his numbers to date, 12 goals and 32 assists for 44 points in 51 games.
Krejci achieved the 1,000 games played plateau on January 16, and the Bruins scheduled the date to honor Krejci before their Monday contest with the Ottawa Senators. In attendance were Krejci’s family, his wife, Naomi, and his children Elina and Everett, along with his parents Zdenek and Renata, here from Czechia. There was no lack of tributes during the ceremony, as the video tribute not only highlighted his many achievements over his career, but also appearances of the teammates he has played with – including Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, Milan Lucic, Torey Krug, Jaromir Jagr, and Pastrnak, . The respect accorded to him was visible at the end of Monday’s 3-1 victory of the Senators, when David Pastrnak had a wide open empty net in front of him, and needed one goal to post his 15th career hat trick, but instead attempted to feed Krejci for the empty-netter, and the opportunity for Krej to get his name on the score sheet. Despite Krejci’s chance being nullified, Pastrnak with his two goals (40 & 41) in the game, did achieve hitting the 40-goal mark for the third time in his career. That mark put pasta in exclusive company in the Bruins’ category for having at least three 40-plus goals seasons, with Ken Hodge, Rick Middleton and Cam Neely. Krejci received the traditional silver hockey stick from Bruins general manager Don Sweeney for his achieving 1,000 games played.
The victory, the Bruins’ first in three meetings with the Sens provided them with a four-game win streak, and a current record of 43-8-5. Highlights, of which there were many, had Jake DeBrusk, recently returned from injury after missing 17 games, again opening the game by scoring the first goal (18) of the game. Goaltender Linus Ullmark continuing his consistent play, cranking up his league-leading record to 29-4-1 to lead the NHL, a goals-against-average of 1.88, and a .937 save percentage. Also in the mix is Jeremy Swayman the second half of the Bruins’ stellar goaltending tandem, whose impressive numbers include: 13-4-4, goals-against-average of 2.21, and a .918 save percentage (fourth in the NHL). Another reason for Boston’s successful season, has been the balanced scoring from the forwards and the defense. The roster includes nine players in double-digits with goals scored, and the ten top point leaders for the locals have: Pastrnak 41-36-77 (56 games); Marchand 17-32-49 (48); Krejci 12-32-44 (51); Bergeron 20-21-41 (56); Charlie McAvoy 4-35-39 (43); Pavel Zacha 13-25-38 (56); Hampus Lindholm 6-30-36 (56); Taylor Hall 16-19-35 (56); DeBrusk 18-15-33 (38); and Charlie Coyle 11-18-29 (56).
Upcoming Bruins schedule on the road continues with: tonight (Thursday 10pm) at Seattle Kraken, Saturday at Vancouver Canucks (7pm), Monday at Edmonton Oilers (8:30pm), Tuesday at Calgary Flames (9pm) to end the current road trip. Followed be a return home to TD Garden ice to begin a four-game homestand versus, the Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings. As of press time (Wednesday), the Bruins were still seeking a defenseman before the March 3 trade deadline. Players most mentioned included: Jakob Chychrun (Arizona Coyotes), Luke Schenn (Vancouver Canucks), and Vladislav Gavrikov (Columbus Blue Jackets).