OTTAWA — His left eyelid slightly swollen, compliments of a hit to the head Thursday night that temporarily sidelined him, David Krejci was back and ready for action Friday night when the Bruins took on the Senators.
Krejci, the club’s slick first-line center, exited the first period against Columbus when he banged his head in a collision along the boards.
“I knew the rule was to get to the room,’’ Krejci said late Friday afternoon, soon after the team bus pulled up at the Canadian Tire Centre. “I had to have the concussion test, and obviously, I passed.’’
His slighty swollen eyelid came from the impact of his helmet shifting downward and scratching the area around the eye. Given the green light after his concussion test, he hurried back to finish the game against the Blue Jackets, logging 18:16 in total ice time.
“I was worried overnight that it might get bigger,’’ he said, noting that the inflamed area around his eye might have swollen even more.
Asked if he felt foggy upon exiting for the room Thursday evening, Krejci, with just the trace of a smile said, “I took the test and I passed.’’
Krejci played a scoreless 20 minutes and 19 seconds and was a minus-1 Friday night.
Milan Lucic knocked home his eighth goal of the season Thursday night, his OT winner leaving him on a pace for right around 35 goals over the 82-game regular season. The 25-year-old power forward scored a scant seven goals last season and notched his career-high 30 in 2010-11.
Lucic said he likes to think of his start this season as a carryover from last spring’s playoffs when he went 7-12—19 in 22 Stanley Cup games.
“And this feels more like that 30-goal season,’’ he said. “When I’ve got the puck on my stick in goal-scoring areas, I’ve just got more confidence in my shot and my ability to score. During the playoffs, I got my confidence back. And I know we lost [in the Final] but my mind-set personally going into this season was to keep it going — when you get that feeling out there, you don’t want to lose it.’’
Prior to the goal against Columbus, Lucic had scored only once in seven games. But overall he has been far more consistent this season, never going more than three consecutive games without a goal.
“He’s had a much better start,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “Last year his regular season was a tough haul. Then we’re fortunate in the playoffs because he was one of the reasons we went as far as we did. Now you see the goals are there as a product of a great start — he’s skating extremely well. It’s a matter, too, of maturity and growing into the role.’’
Lucic was scoreless and went minus-1 without landing a shot. The No. 1 line was very quiet; Jarome Iginla had three shots and was minus-1.
On the dot
Patrice Bergeron, no surprise, is back again as one of the league’s top faceoff artists. Headed into Friday’s action, Patrice The Thief ranked No. 7 overall in faceoff wins (210). Among the top 10 players for faceoffs won, Bergeron ranked second in winning percentage (58.5) at the dot.
Leading the way among those with heavy work on faceoffs: Edmonton’s Boyd Gordon (247 wins, 58.7 percent) and Phoenix’s Antoine Vermette (287 wins, 58.0).
Vermette, with the most faceoff wins in the league, grew up in Bergeron’s hometown of Quebec City.
“Yeah, we’re friends, we see a lot of each other in the summer,’’ said Bergeron. “He’s always been very good at faceoffs, so I’m not surprised to see he’s up there.’’
Bergeron won 13 of 23 draws for 57 percent against the Senators, but overall, the Bruins had a bad night at the dot, losing 38 of 64 for 41 percent. Gregory Campbell and Krejci won only 6 of 21 draws combined (28.6 percent).
Lucic entered the evening with 60 hits, tying him with the Senators’ Colin Greening, ex- of Cornell, at No. 8 on the league’s hit list. Senators tough guy Chris Neil held the No. 6 spot with 62 hits. Prior to Friday night’s games, the Islanders’ Matt Martin led all NHLers with 91 hits Greening led Friday’s bashers with six; Neil had four and Lucic two . . . Carl Soderberg led the Bruins with six shots but was a minus-2 . . . Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid, hindered by an undisclosed injury, did not make the trip. According to Julien, the big back liner will remain home for the road trip . . . The Bruins are off Saturday and will be back at practice Sunday, tuning up for their visit to the Raleigh, N.C., to face the ex-Whalers Monday night. They’ll take on the Rangers at MSG Tuesday night, then return to face the Blues at the Garden Thursday . . . Jordan Caron again was on the sideline, his eighth straight DND.