By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins showed up to work wearing their sharpest Christmas and holiday-themed suits on Thursday night, and they made sure they kept that party going once they took the ice.
Following a scoreless first period against the visiting Anaheim Ducks, David Pastrnak scored his 22nd goal of the season on a picture-perfect no-look feed from Torey Krug on the power play. With that assist, Krug set the Bruins’ all-time record for most assists by an American-born player. It was also a neat and tidy number for Krug, who registered his 200th career assist on that play.
But Krug wasn’t the only Bruins player to reach a milestone in that moment, as fellow American David Backes picked up the secondary assist on Pastrnak’s goal. That assist gave Backes an even 300 for his career.
Later in the second, just seven seconds after Brad Marchand drew a slashing penalty on Andrew Cogliano, the Bruins won the offensive zone faceoff and promptly put the puck past John Gibson. Krug did the honors for this one, with Marchand and Pastrnak picking up the assists.
And then in the third, it was David Krejci’s turn to join the milestone club, as he fired a one-timed rocket from the top of the right faceoff circle past Gibson for a goal that really put the game away.
Add in some fine goaltending from Jaroslav Halak …
… and the Bruins had themselves a real party with a 3-1 win over Anaheim. The victory broke a nine-game losing streak by the Bruins against the Ducks.
That goal for Krejci gave him 600 points for his career, all with the Bruins. The 32-year-old ranks 10th all time in franchise history for points, just six behind Terry O’Reilly. He’s also eighth in franchise history with 419 assists, one spot behind career teammate Patrice Bergeron (462).
“That’s a nice number. I have been fortunate enough to play with really good players so I can’t just give credit to myself,” Krejci said. “I was ready for the one-timer, I was coming late, Pasta put it right in my wheelhouse. Sometimes you got to get lucky because it was a long-range shot. Obviously happy it went in, it was a big goal for our team as well.”
“It’s a team game but individually these players obviously enjoy having a certain level of success,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “If the individuals are having success, it breeds team success and vice versa. So I’m happy for all those guys. Krejci and Krug have been great Bruins for a number of years. Backes not as long as those guys but a great NHL player for a long time so, it’s nice to see them healthy.”
Given his recent offensive surge (5-6-11 in his last eight games played), Krejci has given reason for Cassidy to consider keeping Krejci with at least one of Bergeron’s regular linemates, once Bergeron returns to the lineup from injury. That’s a possibility which nobody would have raised as recently as two weeks ago, but Krejci’s worked so well with Pastrnak and Marchand that the prospect of improving two lines upon Bergeron’s return has to be tempting for Cassidy.
That’s a decision that will be made, and tweaked, in the coming days, as the Bruins will host Nashville on Saturday afternoon before traveling to Carolina on Sunday to close out their pre-Christmas break portion of the schedule.. But in the moment of Thursday night, the Bruins showed up to the building clearly looking for a reason to celebrate. With a thorough victory — and some milestones reached along the way — they certainly accomplished that goal.