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Krejci Pots Late Winner to Propel B's Into Break

After being game-time decision, center comes through in 3-2 victory over Vegas

by Eric Russo @erusso22 /

BOSTON - Following Tuesday's morning skate, David Krejci was termed a game-time decision, leaving his status for the Bruins' tilt against the Vegas Golden Knights in question.

The center had practiced two days in a row after missing two games with an upper-body injury, but with the Bruins' nine-day break looming, a decision had to be made about whether it might be more beneficial for Krejci to sit out and take advantage of the added downtime.

Fortunately for the Black & Gold, Krejci felt good enough to suit up and his play certainly showed it. The 33-year-old picked up two points, including the winning goal with 7:42 remaining, to propel the Bruins into their bye week with a 3-2 victory over Vegas at TD Garden.

"As a player, you always want to play," said Krejci, who also assisted on Jeremy Lauzon's first-period marker. "I felt pretty good yesterday and this morning, so I want to be out there. We made a decision and I'm glad we did that…obviously wanted to get a win before the break. We can enjoy it a little bit more now."

Video: VGK@BOS: Krejci puts Bruins ahead in 3rd

Here are some other notes and observations from the Bruins' comeback win over the Golden Knights: 

To the Bye on A High

Now at the unofficial midway point of the regular season, the Bruins head into their nine-day reprieve for the All-Star Break and bye week having won five of their past eight contests. Boston sits at 29-10-12 with 70 points through 51 games, placing them second in the Eastern Conference, just 1 point by Washington. The Bruins also hold an 8-point lead over Tampa Bay for the Atlantic Division lead.

"The state of the team is I think we're in a solid position," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "I don't think anything has been given to us. I do believe there's room for growth for that 60-minute effort from start to finish…we did some good things this first - I don't want to call it half anymore - but first stretch."

Cassidy went on to say he encouraged his players to take advantage of the upcoming break and use it to recharge ahead of the stretch run.

"Enjoy yourself and get away wherever you're going, mentally cleanse," added Cassidy. "But understand that when we get back, we get at it pretty quick. Be a professional. By that, you do have to look after yourself in some degree in terms of your conditioning. But again, it's more about, enjoy it, but be ready to get ramped up in a hurry."

Video: DeBrusk, Krejci lift Bruins past Golden Knights

Back with A Blast

Jeremy Lauzon had played just one game with Boston this season - Dec. 31 in New Jersey - but he made sure to take advantage of his opportunity on Wednesday night. Subbing in for John Moore as the right-side partner to Matt Grzelcyk on Boston's third pairing, the 22-year-old blasted home a slapper from the point to tie the game, 1-1, with 8:20 remaining in the first period.

"My confidence is really high right now, so, I was just trying to bring the game I was playing down in Providence up here and I think I did a good job," said Lauzon, whose only other NHL goal also came against Vegas in November 2018. "I just saw Krejci making that play up the middle for me and I had that opportunity, so I just shot it."

Video: VGK@BOS: Lauzon scores through traffic

Lauzon finished as a plus-2 with two shots on goal and four hits in 15:38 of ice time, while also chipping in 1:54 on the penalty kill.

"I thought he played hard, competes all over the ice," said Cassidy. "We've seen that before, so we expected that. Scores a goal - obviously, in a one-goal game, that matters. And did it in the right way, didn't overthink it. Just got it, got off the wall, make sure you pound it hard so it gets by the first layer.

"But all-in-all had good composure, didn't seem fazed by anything. We'll always go back and look at it, there will be some details that we'll talk about, but I liked his game. I thought he brought what we needed."

Video: Locker Room Raw: Jeremy Lauzon

Sealing A Celly

Jake DeBrusk kept his strong stretch rolling with his 15th goal of the season, a laser of a wrist shot from the left circle at 4:26 of the third period to tie the game at 2. The winger now has four goals and nine points over his last eight games.

"That's his kind of goal," said Cassidy. "He can separate and shoot in stride and shoot it past a goalie…good for Jake. That got everyone excited and that's something he can bring and has been of late."

DeBrusk, who finished with three shots on goal in 18:17, has been making a concerted effort to engage his speed while getting his game back on track, which is exactly what he did on his goal. After Jaroslav Halak cleared the puck to Charlie Coyle in the neutral zone, the center chipped it to DeBrusk at the Vegas blue line. DeBrusk then surged in on Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland and let one fly.

"Obviously, that's a point of emphasis, something they wanted to see more out of me, and I know I had it, just seemed like my gear wasn't really going," said DeBrusk, who also had a semi-breakaway turned aside by Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in the game.

"I don't know if it's necessarily mental or different things I was doing off the ice, but it's definitely a focus of mine. Just keep the feet going and understanding that if I do have a little bit of jump, I will get space out there.

"Obviously the goal was a little bit of different play, I didn't really need too much speed off that, [Charlie Coyle] kind of made it, but I thought that just on the forecheck and things like that, I could be more effective when I use my speed and that's what I was trying to do."

Video: VGK@BOS: DeBrusk snaps home tying goal

Drawing First Blood 

After days of hinting at a possible return for Anton Blidh, Cassidy inserted the Swedish winger into the lineup in a bit of a surprise move. Blidh, subbing in for Joakim Nordstrom as the Bruins' fourth-line left wing, was making his season debut after suffering a shoulder injury during the preseason that kept him out for roughly four months following surgery.

"I discussed the lineup with [Bruins GM Don Sweeney] and he said he could be activated…Monday we talked about it a little bit, what we may do, and Anton was brought up," said Cassidy. "Is he ready? Talked to the medical staff, and it's like, 'Yup, if he gets through Monday's practice.' It was going to be a hard one. And he had no residual effect."

The 24-year-old played four games in Providence on a rehab stint before joining the big club for practices last week. Blidh, who had played just single games in the NHL each of the last two seasons, landed one shot on goal and three hits in 9:45.

"I don't know if he pushed someone out necessarily," said Cassidy. "We've got a guy like Nordstrom who had a good run with us last year. What we're trying to do - again, I'll be very open - is we decided a couple of weeks ago or whatever it was that we needed a little more internal competition. Usually, that starts from the bottom up.

"We identified some guys in Providence that were playing well. He was one of that was hurt at the start of the year that we were going to look at in training camp. I think we discussed that; we thought he was a lot closer than he was maybe a couple of years ago, so that was something that was going to be in the works when he was ready."

Video: Locker Room Raw: Anton Blidh

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