Kalman: With Iginla Fitting Well, Bruins’ Krejci & Lucic Continue To Produce
BOSTON (CBS) – The goal was credited to Jarome Iginla on the score sheet in Buffalo for a few minutes, but the Bruins winger said he knew sooner that he wasn’t going to get his first goal of the season Wednesday.
“Maybe a second and a half, but it was good. I had the feeling [of scoring]. I remembered what it felt like to feel for a second like oh, it went in,” Iginla said Thursday after the Bruins followed their win against the Sabres with a takedown of the San Jose Sharks.
Riding the confidence that came with that feeling, Iginla finally scored his first goal in the black and gold of Boston against the Sharks, albeit on another shot that won’t go into his greatest hits. The puck deflected off the inside of Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi’s pad and went in. Still it was a key strike both for the Bruins to extend their winning streak to four games and for Iginla to maybe get on a roll where he’s rewarded for his efforts.
And now that Iginla has joined the goal-scoring party, it’s safe to declare that the Bruins’ first line might be the best in the NHL. The numbers through eight games are impressive. Despite just scoring his first goal, Iginla has four assists. Lucic and Krejci share the team lead with 10 points, with Lucic leading the way with five goals. Krejci has lit the lamp twice.
It’s not just the production that’s been impressive about the line that once featured Nathan Horton in Iginla’s spot. So far the battle has been there from all three players every period. Krejci in particular has been criticized in the past for saving his best for the postseason. Well, whether it’s the challenge to disprove that theory or the ‘A’ that’s been sewn on his sweater for road games or some combination of a lot of factors, he’s picked up in the regular season where he left off during the run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
Lucic has also ridden the momentum of the Bruins’ run to the cusp of a championship to an amazing start, one that’s 180 degrees better than the entirety of his seven-goal regular season. He seems undeterred every time he jumps over the boards and seemingly has only two missions out there – to barrel over opponents and to get to the net for goals.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine this line enjoying the success it has if Iginla didn’t turn out to be the right fit. Time will tell if his 37-year-old body can hold up playing at the pace he’s been competing at, but his work along the boards and his fight in the slot and behind the net have made him look 10 years younger. Iginla’s ability to get to scoring areas must have Krejci slowing down only to wipe his chin before setting up the star power forward.
There might be some issues with chemistry, unproductivity and injuries among the Bruins’ middle six forwards. But right now there are no issues with the first line except the worries about Iginla, Krejci and Lucic not pacing themselves for the long run.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.