David Krejci doesn’t have a contract for next season.
He doesn’t seem concerned — about that, or much of anything.
“No, I’m not worried at all,” the 15-year Bruin said, when asked if he’s been stressed over the lack of workplace certainty. “I don’t care about that. I’m here right now and that’s what I care about.”
In typical fashion, after Boston’s 5-2 win over Buffalo on Thursday, Krejci downplayed everything. He was blasé about his role in another highlight-reel goal, his downshift-and-dangle around a pair of flailing Sabres that gave Taylor Hall a tap-in. He was seemingly indifferent to the goal he scored, a crackling one-timer that rattled off the post, netminder and in.
His line is on fire, and Krejci is cool as can be.
“I think we’re just taking it game by game,” he said. “No matter if we have a good game or a bad game, we just have to get ready and start from the beginning. That’s what’s happening.”
What’s also happening, apparently, is the early emergence of the man known as “Playoff Krech.”
The Bruins are 8-2-0 since adding Hall, Mike Reilly and Curtis Lazar at the trade deadline. No one looks more caffeinated than the 35-year-old, who is 6-5—11 in his last 10 games.
“He’s re-energized in terms of attacking,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’s moving his feet and going north a little more. He’s got a guy on his left that can bomb down the wing, and a guy on right that can skate . . . He’s making plays and finishing plays.”
Krejci’s spectacular assist, his second exclamation point in two games, had Rasmus Dahlin checking air, Henri Jokiharju swimming, and Hall reacting with a grin that was just short of a laugh.
Naturally, the bench loved it.
“I think it’s easy for him,” said Charlie Coyle, praising Krejci’s hands, awareness and hockey sense. “A little bit of everything goes into that one. That kind of patience that he has, to make a move like that, have the confidence to do it and put it on a platter for Taylor Hall who’s in a great spot. It’s so special to see it up close.”
Before puck drop, Cassidy was heaping praise on the Hall-Krejci duo, who have found each other all over the ice.
“Two good hockey minds,” he said. “Sometimes guys mesh. Sometimes they don’t. It looks like they’ve been able to do it.”
Carlo getting close
In his days with Ottawa and Montreal, Mike Reilly was impressed with Brandon Carlo’s size, defensive ability, and eagerness to take on hard matchups.
Thursday morning, Reilly liked what he saw all over again.
“An under-covered thing I could see today, and playing against him, is that he can move the puck pretty dang good,” Reilly said. “When he comes back, that’s going to be a big addition to the group here.”
Carlo, missing in action for much of the last two months, joined his teammates at the morning skate in Brighton for the first time since April 1. Cassidy said he could return for a Monday-Tuesday set in New Jersey, “if he progresses well,” Cassidy said. “He needs a few practices. He’ll get one [Friday] with us. We’ll see about Sunday.”
Since a Tom Wilson headshot sent him for an overnight hospital stay on March 5, Carlo has played four periods of hockey. In his second game after returning from the Wilson hit, April 1 against Pittsburgh, he slammed into the end boards, his left shoulder and arm taking the force of the impact.
The 24-year-old’s fifth season in the NHL has been tough, missing the Bruins’ last 16 games, and 26 of their last 28.
“He’s done a good job,” Cassidy said. “A fairly quick turnaround for his injury. We’re pleased with that. Again, let’s get through the next few days and decide.”
The Sabres, who landed eight shots in a row in the minutes following the goal, wound up with an 11-5 edge in scoring chances at 5 on 5 after the first. The Bruins finished ahead, 22-16 . . . As David Pastrnak once said of Brad Marchand, he was “a bit crispy.” Possibly agitated over an early, non-called trip that sent him flying into the boards (he gave referee Ghislain Hebert an earful), Marchand later got into it with a couple of young Sabres. He showed Dahlin his flexed bicep after the two rammed into each other. He traded cross-checks with Jokiharhu during play and after the whistle. He also ran Dahlin at the end of the second period . . . The Sabres outhit the Bruins, 30-24, with Drake Caggiula (five) leading the way. He put one of the loudest pops on Kevan Miller in recent memory, flattening the strapping defenseman in the corner . . . A COVID testing issue kept Craig Smith out of the morning skate, but he was in the lineup come game time. Jake DeBrusk was shelved for the second game in a row … Sabres rookie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made his second career start, making 35 saves. Fellow Finn Tuukka Rask, twelve years his senior, started his 536th game and made 29 saves. The pair combined for more Ks than the Red Sox’ pitching staff.