WILMINGTON — Just 64 seconds into the second period of Game 1, it appeared the Bruins were about to tie the Canadiens at 1-1. Torey Krug had fed David Krejci, who was going in on Carey Price with two defenders trailing him.
But as Krejci went to his backhand, he lost the puck.
“The first breakaway I had in the second period, I kind of had on my backhand, so I would like that one back,” Krejci said.
It was one missed chance in a game full of them, a game that could have seen a lot more scoring from the Bruins, who did score three third-period goals, and a lot more scoring from Krejci, in particular, as Boston lost, 4-3.
For Krejci, it was simple.
“I thought we had so many chances we could have scored like 10 goals,’’ he said of his line. “But we didn’t. So hopefully we are saving them for next game.”
The Bruins top center had picked up where his line had left off in the previous series, creating chances, earning zone time, and buzzing the opponent’s net. Against the Red Wings, they had been able to put those pucks in the net over the final two games. They didn’t against Price.
“I believe if we would be playing against a different goalie I would score half of the goals,” Krejci said. “But he’s a great goalie, so I have to find a way to beat him.”
It looked like they would, as the game went on and Krejci and his line got more and more chances. But they were never able to hit the back of the net.
“Especially the second half of the game, I thought we were doing a pretty good job of getting in front of him,” Krejci said. “Obviously their D, you know it’s kind of hard to battle. But we have to get there. That’s what happens, especially on a dirty goal. So like I said, I thought we had an OK game. It could’ve gone either way. But it’s a long series.”
Krejci played a whopping 29:28, with only Zdeno Chara playing more for the Bruins. And the time on ice was warranted, as he created a bunch of chances.
One of those came midway through the third period when Milan Lucic flailed on a Krejci feed that went between the legs of Brendan Gallagher. With Price defending Krejci, Lucic had a wide open net, but he hit only air.
“It was a split-second,” Lucic said. “I couldn’t see it until the last second. Unfortunately, my stick wasn’t in the right spot where it went off it and in, and I missed it. We’ve got to do the same sort of things [Saturday] to create those chances, but get a few more and bury them.”
The Bruins finished the game with 51 shots, including five from Krejci, four from Jarome Iginla, and two from Lucic.
The uptick in Krejci’s play is a good sign. The center usually raises his game in the postseason, but he didn’t produce in the first round. He had just two assists against the Red Wings.
“Obviously you like to bury all of them,” Krejci said. “But I just kind of try to stay positive and just take the positive things. I thought I was playing with the puck and making plays, but at the end of the day the puck’s not going in the net, you know, so it’s kind of frustrating. But you just stay positive and move on.”
Still, anyone would replay the missed opportunities over and over, especially in light of what later happened — the double-overtime goal by P.K. Subban. During the game, Krejci put the misses behind him.
But that was more difficult after the game.
“Obviously, it was a tough, tough night,’’ Krejci said. “You have all those breakaways in your head and trying to not think about it. But it’s there. So I feel a little better today, but it’s still frustrating. So have a good sleep tonight and make sure I’m going to put some pucks in the net [on Saturday].”