Krejci pulling his weight
He’s picking up slack for up-and-down teammates
WILMINGTON — Many queries still surround the Bruins’ defensive lapses, power-play woes, and lack of scoring punch, but few question David Krejci’s creativity with the puck. When the Bruins’ pivot is feeling it, as he undoubtedly was in Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay, he leaves others guessing — sometimes blatantly.
Krejci assisted on the Bruins’ first two goals in a manner that made it look easy. In the first period, he did a quick circle around the right point and timed a saucer pass to Zdeno Chara in the low slot perfectly, just missing the left shin of the Lightning’s Victor Hedman and hitting Chara’s tape at the post for an easy redirect.
In the second period, Krejci deked as he hit the brakes in the left circle, faking Tampa Bay’s Paul Szczechura and feeding a trailing Johnny Boychuk in the right circle for a compact wrist shot that beat Antero Niittymaki under his right armpit.
“I just like watching him when I’m on the bench,’’ Boychuk said of Krejci following yesterday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “He’s just filthy with the puck. He’s so amazing with his moves, such a smart hockey player. [His creativity] is unbelievable. I dream about having skills like that. It won’t happen, but I can dream about it, I guess.’’
There’s no doubt the third-year pivot is pulling his weight on the second line. For linemates Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, though, the question continues to loom: Are they holding up their end?
Ryder got the second assist on Boychuk’s goal for just his sixth point of March — 1 more than Wheeler.
“There’s no doubt Michael Ryder is definitely under the numbers right now that he’s been used to putting up in his career,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “That line has chemistry. [Thursday] probably wasn’t as good as we’ve seen lately.’’
“It was deemed, I would say, a mild concussion, a very mild concussion,’’ Julien said.
Sobotka, who skated with the team yesterday, might play this afternoon against Calgary. Julien said Sobotka is “headache-free’’ and would undergo a neuropsychological examination, one of the last steps mandated by the NHL before a concussed player is cleared to return.
“If he passes that, he’s good to go,’’ Julien said.
“The injury doesn’t go away,’’ said Ference, who signed a three-year extension this week. “It’s there, and you just have to try to make sure blood doesn’t build up, and the swelling from the injury doesn’t mess things up. A lot of hot tub, cold tub, hot tub, cold tub kind of stuff.
“It feels great, but I’m staying on top of it. You let it slide, it turns bad pretty quick.’’