|The Bruins’ Benoit Pouliot was given a ride courtesy of Montreal’s Raphael Diaz. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)|
They're a together click
Krejci trio playing like first-liners
If there is anything the Bruins are worrying about, deciding which threesome deserves the billing of No. 1 line is low among their priorities. Two lines could make a case. Patrice Bergeron (11-25-36) is the team’s top-scoring center. After recording a helper on the game-winning goal last night, David Krejci has a 10-game scoring streak (5-10-15).
There is little argument, however, with the current reality: The Czech and his Krechmates, unlike earlier this season, are performing like first-liners.
For all their talents, Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton played disjointed hockey for virtually all of October and parts of the last two months. There were stretches when all were ghosts.
Lately, they have reminded their teammates and coaches how potent they can be when they’re simultaneously clicking. It starts with Krejci, who has been playing with pace and racking up the points as a result.
“They were good for us again tonight,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “They spent a lot of time in the other team’s end. I’d have to say they were probably our best line for us tonight.’’
It helps Krejci that his linemates have been north-south locomotives. Against the Jets Tuesday, Horton scored a pair of goals by driving to the net and being in the position to tap pucks home. Lucic is better known for his finishing touch than playmaking abilities.
But by barreling down the wing and being heavy on the puck, Lucic has blown past opponents. He had two assists against the Jets.
Last night, Lucic and Horton reversed roles. After taking a pass from Krejci, Horton set up Lucic, whose backhander glanced off Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges and beat Carey Price for the decisive goal in the 2-1 win.
“Identical players when it comes to that stuff,’’ Julien said of Krejci’s wingmen. “They play straight-line games and they drive the net. They’re big. They’re strong.
“Once those two guys find that part of their game, they become a really good line, because the guy in the middle will find them.’’
At 12:17 of the third period, Montreal’s P.K. Subban was called for an elbowing minor when he caught Krejci high. Based on replays, Subban might have been fortunate to earn only two minutes.
Subban appeared to launch himself at Krejci and connect with the center’s head. Andrew Ference saw the exchange and jumped Subban. Ference was called for a roughing double minor. On the following power play, the Canadiens scored their only goal.
“Our guys are a group of guys that stick together,’’ Julien said. “I like to see that.
“I couldn’t see it from where I was on the bench, because it happened in front of theirs. It was called elbowing, so I don’t know where he elbowed him.
“If it was a dangerous elbow, I’m going back to what I said less than a week ago: We’re going to police ourselves as far as protecting ourselves. That’s the way we’ve decided to handle it. Sometimes it comes with consequences.
“At the end of the day, I think everybody knows that if they’re going to cross the line with us, they’re going to have to face the music.’’
Neither Krejci nor Ference was available for comment.
Before the game, the Bruins recalled Jordan Caron from Providence. Caron will join the team on its three-game road trip (Carolina, Florida, and Tampa Bay). Caron hasn’t had the season he expected. He made the team out of training camp, but has appeared in only 14 games.
Last night, Caron replaced Zach Hamill on the third line. He had a goal and played 12 minutes 24 seconds.
“Where we’d like him to push himself a little bit more is to have the confidence to do more offensively,’’ Julien said. “He’s a big, strong body. I remember seeing him in camp his first year. He took the puck to the net and really used his size and strength to take pucks to the net. That was pretty impressive to me.
“I think now, he just wants to make sure he doesn’t make any mistakes. I don’t want him to play that way. I don’t want him to be afraid to make mistakes. I want him to play with some confidence and make things happen.’’
Chara, Seguin are Stars
Yesterday, the NHL added Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin to the All-Star roster. Chara and Seguin will join starter Tim Thomas and the Bruins’ coaching staff in Ottawa later this month.
Chara has 7 goals and 19 assists to lead Boston defensemen in scoring. He is averaging 24:33 of ice time per game, most on the team.
Seguin leads the Bruins in scoring with 17 goals and 21 assists. This will be Seguin’s first All-Star Game appearance, though he participated in last year’s skills contest.
“A year before last year, they were my idols growing up,’’ Seguin said of the All-Stars. “It’s very cool. This year, going as one of them is going to be a great experience.’’
Because of bad weather in greater Toronto, Marc Savard was unable to travel to last night’s game. He was scheduled to visit TD Garden to greet visitors to the suite he donated to pediatric patients from Children’s Hospital. Savard’s visit was rescheduled for the Jan. 21 matinee against the Rangers . . . Bergeron lost 10 of 15 faceoffs. Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec was 16 for 21 on the draw . . . Hamill and Steven Kampfer were the healthy scratches.