With 13:47 left in Thursday night’s game against the Lightning, a speeding Sean Kuraly was knocked silly by a blindside hit from Tampa defenseman Braydon Coburn and removed from the game by an off-ice official to be checked for a concussion.
Kuraly, who was playing the puck against Erik Cernak, bumped his head off both big defensemen. He was slow to get up, but skated off under his own power.
“He seemed fine in there,” Cassidy said. “But that’ll be something [to monitor] tomorrow.”
Krejci healthy, happy
The Bruins were as hot as the Lightning entering Thursday’s matchup at TD Garden, which is to say they were scorching.
“I like the way we’re playing,” coach Bruce Cassidy said before puck drop. “Most nights we’re hard to play against. We really value keeping the puck out of our net. We’re getting more scoring, secondary scoring. Special teams [are] solid, goaltending solid. Just make the plays that make the difference.”
The game was the first meeting of NHL teams with 14-game point streaks.
A primary part of the formula: Boston’s best have been at their best.
Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara are over their first-half injuries, likewise Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk. But the Bruins also wouldn’t be where they are — second in the East, behind that electric Tampa squad — without David Krejci.
Krejci is healthy and happy, and his playmaking and production, as it was during the four-week stretch without Bergeron, has lifted the Bruins in the recent absence of David Pastrnak. Krejci, who scored twice Feb. 12 against the Blackhawks, in his first game without his Czech mate, had 12 points in his first seven games without him (3 goals, 9 assists).
“I don’t really think about how many points I get,” said Krejci, who has a 15-40—55 line, on the strength of the third-highest points-per-game mark (0.86) of his career.
“I look back in the summer and see what I did well, what I have to work on, how far did we go in the playoffs.”
His numbers will come if he feels good, he believes, although he was scoreless in Thursday’s 4-1 victory for the Bruins. And Krejci feels good. At the risk of jinxing him — when asked if he’s healthy, he said he would pretend the question was not asked — he has avoided the nagging injuries that have sidetracked previous seasons. Krejci is the only remaining Bruin who could play the full 82 games. For a player whose hip, knee and back troubles have slowed him in prior years, that is no small feat.
The 32-year-old, who had major left hip surgery in April 2016, trimmed about 10 pounds in the offseason. He credited his in-season regimen, which has changed of late.
“You’ve got to drop off the kids at school, so that means you’re already here,” said Krejci, who with his wife, Naomi, has a 3-year-old daughter and an infant son, born Jan. 4. “You don’t want to go home for 30 minutes, so you might as well figure out how to do some extra work. Then it becomes a habit.”
Most of his time is devoted to parenting and hockey, which is what at least 10 of his teammates would say.
“Kids change your life,” he said. “You spend lots of time at home during the season, so you don’t have lots of time to do any crazy stuff outside. You save up some energy there. But the older you get, the more you understand that you have to take care of our body . . . It’s a learning process for me, but I’m trying and feeling good on the ice.”
Carlo appears OK
Defenseman Brandon Carlo, Cassidy said, appeared no worse for wear after appearing to take a shot off the arm late in the third period . . . Every Bruin attempted a shot on goal, with Marchand (game-high five shots) firing eight times. Blue liner Matt Grzelcyk, a skilled mover of the puck, was the only one who didn’t land . . . The Bruins coughed up the puck seven times to Tampa’s 16 . . . Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov landed two of his eight attempts, missing the net five times. He was also given a game misconduct at the final buzzer.
Bergeron, who had a maintenance day on Wednesday, was rested and ready for another go with Brad Marchand and new No. 1 right wing Danton Heinen.
Cassidy is in no hurry to drop Heinen, who has a goal and seven assists in his past eight games, believing the line is carrying its considerable weight. It is good business.
In the previous seven games with Heinen, Boston’s top line has averaged 3.31 goals per 60 minutes at 5 on 5, according to Natural Stat Trick, but its defensive stats are excellent: it is surrendering 0.83. In 37 games with Pastrnak, the line averaged 3.55 for and 3.24 against. The Bruins, as a team, average 2.18 and 1.87.
“I think it’s going well,” Bergeron said of Heinen, whose scoring totals from his rookie year (16-31—47) have dipped in his sophomore year (9-13—22).
“He’s very smart, and very well positioned all the time, especially in our own zone. I think he helps us a lot to break the puck out and go on offense.
“With him, there’s a little bit more of going on the forecheck and [getting] it back, instead of coming in with the puck on entries like Pasta likes to do a lot. But it doesn’t change much.
“We’re used to that as well, we like to go straight-line, me and Brad. Lots of communication. I think he’s been playing really well and contributing on our line.”
Acciari in a bowl
Another member of Boston’s fourth line is in a fishbowl. Center Noel Acciari skated with a full, Sean Kuraly-esque face shield Thursday, after taking a puck to the mouth Tuesday and having significant dental work Wednesday. “Probably not as much as they need to, for now,” Cassidy said, noting that Acciari is due to go back in the dentist’s chair, but can play for now. “So that actually helps us in the short term.” . . . Defenseman Kevan Miller (upper body, blocked shot) missed his second game in a row . . . The Bruins last lost in regulation Jan. 19. The Lightning: Jan. 30 . . . McAvoy skated in his 100th career game . . . Kucherov, who entered with 30-74—104 totals, could be the first NHLer to hit 130 since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96. He was held scoreless Thursday . . . The Bruins reassigned Karson Kuhlman and Peter Cehlarik to AHL Providence.
Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports