BOSTON - Torey Krug admits that the first few weeks of the 2017-18 season have been a grind. The blue liner's start was halted after suffering a broken jaw in the Bruins second preseason game, a set back that was at times more of a mental hurdle than a physical one.
"Physically, I missed training camp, a lot of exhibition games," said Krug. "On the mental side of things, you get pretty frustrated because you know how well you can play, but you're just not playing up to your potential and the stars aren't lining up for you. It's a grind both mentally and physically."
After missing the season opener against Nashville, Krug returned to the lineup but struggled to find consistent footing over the season's first few weeks. But after the last two games, Krug appears ready to bust out offensively. Krug notched his second goal of the season against Columbus on Monday, before tallying two assists in Boston's 2-1 win over Vegas on Thursday.
"His game has been coming around anyway," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said following the game. "For the most part it's been solid… he's been managing the puck well, making his plays, starting to feel like Torey again. [Thursday night] was good.
"We need his offense, especially now since we're a little bit depleted. So if he can add some secondary scoring like he generally does then we will be that much better."
Video: BOS@CBJ: Krug one-times home Miller's nifty pass
Krug, who was a plus-2 in over 18 minutes of ice time against Vegas, believes his two-point performance can act as a catalyst.
"That's the hope," said Krug. "I just want to feel good out there. Breaking pucks out, feel comfortable with my game. Those little streaks, they'll come when you feel good about your game."
The 26-year-old's strong night coincided with the removal of the face mask he had been wearing on his helmet since the jaw injury. Krug, who did not believe the extra protection obstructed him, did admit that his peripheral vision and overall comfort level was improved.
"I think it hinders a person - especially a guy that plays a finesse game," said Cassidy. "You're not used to having that on there. It's a reminder that you're protecting an injury. There's enough going on the ice that you don't need those reminders.
"Probably, in the back of his mind [he said], 'OK, I'm healed, I'm even more prepared to play.'"
Video: VGK@BOS: Nash cashes in on rebound to open scoring
Backes Has Surgery
The Bruins announced late Thursday night that David Backes "underwent surgery to remove a portion of his colon. The operation went smoothly and he has started his recovery."
Backes is expected to miss approximately eight weeks while he recovers from the procedure that is in relation to his bout with diverticulitis.
Beleskey, Czarnik Return
Matt Beleskey and Austin Czarnik (recalled from Providence on an emergency basis) were both slotted back into the lineup on Thursday night and performed well. Both players were on the ice for Riley Nash's second-period tally that opened the scoring, with Czarnik grabbing the primary assist.
The both finished with a plus-1 in around 10 minutes of ice time.
"They did their part. They're a plus one; their line got a goal," said Cassidy. "That's what we talked about, you know, pitching in. Saturday if they're together, they might not get the goal but if they can give us solid minutes, manage pucks, create some energy for us, get the momentum back in our favor, defend when they have to.
"They stayed out of trouble for the most part I think in their own ends. Those are the contributions you need from guys that aren't in your lineup every night that are trying to get in your lineup every night."
The trio of Beleskey, Czarnik, and Nash - which was together at various last season - did not begin the night together, but a switch of Nash and Sean Kuraly paid dividends for the Bruins, as Nash scored on the line's first shift together.
"Last year we had two games together, I think and we did a really good job together…I was like, 'All right let's go get one,'" said Czarnik. "That first shift we really popped one, so it's a good feeling for us. I think we all jell together pretty well and we just know where each other are so hopefully we can keep that going together."
Maintenance for Marchand
Brad Marchand did not practice on Friday, but Cassidy did not seem to be too concerned with the winger's absence, which the coach termed a maintenance day.
"Maintenance day, lower body, he just needed a little rest," said Cassidy. " I truly believe this is nothing serious…it's just a precation. He plays a lot of minutes so we gave him the day."
David Krejci missed practice once again as he battles an upper-body injury. Cassidy ruled him out for Saturday's game with Washington.
"Nothing new to report, he didn't skate today, he'll be ruled out tomorrow," said Krejci. "Monday we'll have a better update."
Anton Khudobin (lower body) also missed practice and has not begun skating. Tuukka Rask will start on Saturday night against Washington.
Friday's Practice Lines
Frank Vatrano - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen - Jordan Szwarz - Anders Bjork
Jake DeBrusk - Sean Kuraly - Tim Schaller
Matt Beleskey - Riley Nash - Austin Czarnik
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Paul Postma - Kevan Miller