By: Mark Harriman, Senior Editor
BOSTON (March 1)- David Krejci and coach Claude Julien both had a pretty tough month of February. The former scored only two goals in 13 games, while the skipper saw his hockey club get shut out five times for the first time in franchise history.
Something had to change as March mercifully rolled around, so Julien shook up his top two lines for tonight’s contest against New Jersey. And the move ultimately paid dividends, as Krejci notched the second hat trick of his career and the Bruins knocked off the Devils 4-3 in overtime.
Julien swapped Tyler Seguin and newly re-minted Bruin Brian Rolston, mating Seguin with Krecji and Milan Lucic on a line that swarmed the ice in the first period and gave Boston a 2-0 lead.
Krejci netted his first just over a minute into the period when he took a beautiful centering pass from a streaking Sequin and caught goalie Martin Brodeur in a dive.
At 9:10, it was Seguin’s turn when he took a pass from a battling Lucic and slapped one out near the left circle that foudnthe back of the net.
The Bruins were in command up 2-0 at the end of the first period and it looked like Julien had pushed all the right buttons, but this team has had a penchant for doing things the hard way of late.
And the second period was proof positive that the Bruins are not yet ready to shake-off their doldrums.
New Jersey took advantage of a Joe Corvo turnover for their first goal (Zach Parise) and the Devils added two more (Patrik Elias and David Clarkson) to take a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission. Somehow the Bruins had managed to suck the life out of the TD Garden in just 20 minutes.
“A bit of a fluky goal on that third one,” Julien said after the game. “But going into the third, it was one of those games where you tell your team, ‘We played a great first period, and they came back, and they won the second. Now who’s going to win the third?’ And, you know, we just had to kind of park that second period aside and not go out in the third with negative thoughts…..”
Krejci tied the game 3-3 at 5:30 with a flick of the wrist when a tandem shot from Lucic and Zdeno Chara bounced off Brodeur and into Krejci’s lap over at the post. That gave Boston the jump-start it needed to regain composure.
At 2:59 of overtime, Patrice Bergeron fished the puck off the boards and fed Chara who tried to stuff it past Brodeur. Krejci took the rebound off the post and clanged it off the crossbar for the game winner and the Bruins’ first season sweep of New Jersey since the 1985-86 season.
“I know we had a little sloppy second period but we came back hard in the third and won the game, Krejci said in the locker room after the game. “That was the most important thing tonight.”