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Penguins vs Bruins

Krejci staking a claim to be among NHL's elite

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

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Krejci staking a claim to be among NHL's elite
David Krejci isn't always talked about as an elite scorer, but his postseason numbers for the Bruins tell a different story.

PITTSBURGH -- David Krejci is a man of few words.

Instead, the reticent Czech center lets his play do the talking. Throughout the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, his play has been making a lot of declarative statements.

Krejci leads the Boston Bruins -- and the entire NHL -- in scoring this postseason with 19 points. He has seven goals, which is tied for second in the League, just one behind Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks. His two goals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night gave him five multi-goal games in the past three postseasons, a feat only accomplished by two other players -- Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings -- during that same timespan.

He has played 45 playoff games since the 2011 postseason began and has 45 points. Nobody else has come close to matching that production across the past three springs. More than a quarter of his postseason goals (7 of 27) have been game-winning tallies.

So, has Krejci's play made the statement that he is among the best forwards in the game today, including Pittsburgh's dynamic center duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? He has more points than either player this postseason and outscored them 2-0 in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series.

Yet, the 27-year-old Krejci is not saying. Saturday night, all he would say is that Malkin and Crosby are the best players in the world and nobody else is really in that stratosphere.

His teammates and coaches don't agree with that modesty.

"He's a good player. Why should he be different than Crosby or Malkin, who are good players?" Boston coach Claude Julien said.

His linemate Nathan Horton added: "He's a great player. He's just as good as anyone else and he deserves all of the credit. It's definitely not surprising to me that he's at the top in almost every category."

Meanwhile, Boston's fourth-liner Shawn Thornton says that Krejci is much more demanding on himself than anyone outside the Boston dressing room can imagine.

"He's a very quiet guy, you don't see a lot of emotion from him, so he kind of flies under the radar," Thornton told NHL.com. "Knowing him for the last six years and he is a very passionate guy and you wouldn't know it unless you sat next to him."

But, what is it that makes Krejci so good when the weather turns warm and the stakes rise exponentially?

In the postseason, Krejci averages almost a point per game. In the regular season, that number falls to .75 per game.

Julien said Sunday that Krejci is just one of those special players that rises to the challenges of the playoffs, arguing mindset over skill set.

"I think it's his whole game. He makes plays. He shoots more. I think it's just the situation. I think he's one of those guys that really loves the playoffs and loves the intensity and excitement that comes with it and really gets up for those games," Julien said.

But, he does it without a noticeable rise in his pulse or the muddling of his thought process says Boston defenseman Andrew Ference.

"I think the one thing I think that really helps David is he's very cool-headed and calm," Ference said. "This time of year is obviously about having emotions and getting outside of your comfort zone. But some of the best players are also the ones that can keep their pulse down a little bit and not get out of their heads with trying to do too much and getting over their heads and only playing with emotion.

"You know he does a good job of keeping pretty cool and staying extremely sharp, but calm. He's been a great playoff performer all the time."

Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com