April 29, 2011

Krejci hopeful a healthy Bruins squad can take down Flyers

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins center David Krejci. (Getty)

BOSTON -- With one player after another succumbing to injury last spring, many marveled at the Bruins ability to keep chugging along through the postseason.

With Marc Savard operating at around 50 percent, Dennis Seidenberg out of action, Marco Sturm on the mend and Tim Thomas relegated to backup duty with a bad hip -- one unbeknownst to the masses -- the Bruins defied the odds as they came within a single victory of reaching the Eastern Conference finals.

But a collision between David Krejci and Flyers forward Mike Richards in Game 3 of the second round, one that left Boston's pivot with a broken wrist, proved to be the proverbial straw that broke the Bruins back.

The B's ultimately won that tilt sans Krejci, taking a 3-0 lead in their series against Philadelphia, but the departure of No. 46 and the return of Simon Gagne to the Flyers lineup ultimately spelled doom -- and an eventual collapse -- for the Black and Gold.

"There were more (injuries) than just me," Krejci said.  "Seids [Dennis Seidenberg] wasn't playing and Sturmy [Marco Sturm] got hurt too. There were some bad goals too and some bad breaks. This is a new challenge for us. I feel good about our team. Everybody is healthy so far, so hopefully we can keep it going."

The new challenge Krejci is referring to of course is Boston's upcoming matchup with the Flyers, the second straight year the two clubs will battle it out for a trip to conference finals.

Despite the fact that the Bruins finished the 2009-10 season in sixth place in the East, Krejci was confident -- regardless of his team's injury woes -- that they had a legitimate chance to go all the way. As one might expect, his faith in this year's edition of the Black and Gold is no different, but he knows that avoiding such depleting injuries is completely out of anyone's hands.

"We had a really good team last year and we have a very good team this year, too," he said. "Last year the way things were going, we were up 3-0 and a few bad breaks happened. We lost. Everything was just going the right way but a lot can change quickly in the playoffs. With just another win we could've been in the conference finals and, who knows, maybe the Stanley Cup Finals."

After a slow start to the season last year, the 25-year-old pivot picked up the pace down the stretch and that carried on into the playoffs. After picking up five points in six games against the Sabres, including two goals and an assist in the clinching game at TD Garden, Krejci had a point in each of the three contests he skated in before Richards ended his season.

This year's run hasn't gone nearly as well. Krejci managed just one point over seven games against the Canadiens, as the Bruins went a woeful 0-for-21 on the power play.

Shaking the Habs might be a good thing for Boston, however, as they went 4-for-12 during the regular season on the man advantage against Philly.

"Oh, I didn't even know that," Krejci said when informed of the team's power-play success against the Flyers. "I know we scored a couple goals against them. Our power play is struggling a little bit but it's a new series. Everything starts from zero so hopefully we can get it going."

Getting the power play back on track will be necessary if the Bruins hope to avenge their meltdown against the Flyers last spring.

"It's exciting, that's  for sure," Krejci said of the opportunity. "After (last) season,  it was a tough time. But now it's a new season, we've got past the first round and it would be nice to beat the Flyers."