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Krug's First Goal Helps Bruins to Win Over Columbus

Blue liner is beginning to feel like himself after offseason surgery

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - Torey Krug could feel things beginning to turn over the last 10 days. It may not be a coincidence that that shift began with a return trip to his hometown of Detroit.

It was in that 1-0 victory over the Red Wings on Oct. 29 that Krug started to feel like himself again - even if the points were still lacking.

But the 25-year-old blue liner, who underwent offseason surgery on his shoulder, knew the production would come if he continued at that pace.

That they have.

Krug has tallied three points over his last five games, including his first goal of the season, which opened the Bruins' scoring in a convincing 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night at TD Garden.

"I've talked about it recently with some of these guys. I think Detroit, playing in Detroit, was a nice stepping stone for me to get my confidence back," said Krug, who registered a plus-2 and two shots on net in 19 minutes, 7 seconds of ice time.

"There are a couple of plays tonight that probably five games ago I don't make, so it's nice to get that swagger back in my game and hopefully I can use it to keep moving forward and keep bettering myself.

"But it's starting to come together. It's not all there, but that hunger, that drive to get better is what makes good hockey players."

His inaugural tally of the season came 8:47 into the first with the Bruins trailing, 1-0.

Video: CBJ@BOS: Krug unloads a shot, scores through traffic

Krug, one of five different goal scorers for the Bruins, got the puck at the point, and found David Krejci along the half wall. Krejci sent it right back to Krug, who launched a one-timer from the middle of the blue line that rocketed inside the right post.

The sight of the puck in the back of the net was, no doubt, a relief.

"It was a good feeling," said Krug. "Obviously, individually, you want to get out of that little cold streak you have. It's nice to get on the board. But I think it was an important goal for the game.

"We knew that they started fast - they always outscore their opponents in the first couple periods, so it's important to get us back into the game. It's a good feeling for sure."

Bruins coach Claude Julien has seen Krug's confidence building in recent games. And he knows there is still more to come.

"I don't know what factored into it but he's right, he hasn't been at the top of his game. I can see it getting better and better all the time," said Julien. "Tonight was a good example of that. He scores a nice goal and those kinds of things are things that can encourage you and give you a reason to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I think his game has improved lately, so hopefully it keeps getting better because he certainly has lots in him."

For much of training camp and the opening weeks of the season, Krug eased himself into taking slapshots or forceful wind-ups. But he has felt more and more comfortable in letting rip, as he did Thursday night.

"I think maybe the few first games [I was tentative], especially after you don't score early on, I start looking to make passes to my teammates because nothing is going in," said Krug. "That shot-first mentality started coming back in the last few games. It's nice to get a good bounce there and for one to go in."

Krug, however, did not want to blame his shoulder on his slow start.

"I don't know if the shoulder was the issue, maybe I was working so hard to recover from the shoulder that I forgot to do some other stuff," said Krug. "My skating game started to come around right around the Detroit game and that's a big part of my game.

"So if I skate better, then the rest of my game - my passing, my shooting - it all comes together. So skating was a big part of it."

Krug's laser jumpstarted the Bruins, who started slowly and allowed Nick Foligno to open the scoring just 2:29 into the game. But after Krug converted, the Black & Gold went on to score three more goals in a span of 4:01.

Matt Beleskey followed with his first goal of the season just 1:08 later, before Austin Czarnik and Tim Schaller scored 24 seconds apart to open up a 4-1 lead midway through the second period.

Video: CBJ@BOS: Beleskey scores off of Czarnik's great feed

The balanced scoring attack - the Bruins received goals from three of their four lines - was encouraging for team that has relied heavily on its top trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak (which was kept scoreless Thursday night).

"That's great. I think I said that at the beginning of the year: our up-front scoring power and balance is something that's going to help our team, and when we can all get rolling it's going to be a good thing for this team," said Beleskey, who added an assist on Czarnik's tally.

"It's hard to stop teams with four lines going."

The Bruins have now won five of their last seven games and, like Krug, appear to be finding their game as the season ramps up.

"I think we have a lot of confidence right now in our game - the five-on-five game, especially, I think is coming together," said Krug. "We're playing fast, we know every time a line jumps over the boards what we're going to get out of them.

"That's a big part of it, so we're going to continue to remain confident in our game and make sure our five-on-five game continues on the road and we'll bring that back home when we get back."

Video: CBJ@BOS Czarnik lights the lamp with a snap shot

Postgame News and Notes

  • David Backes potted the Bruins' fifth and final goal of the game on a one-timer from the right circle. David Krejci picked up the puck after a heavy forecheck, before finding Backes for the goal. "I think my line in particular is trending in a great direction," said Backes, who also assisted on Krug's goal. "I think you're seeing Ryan Spooner with a lot more confidence. He's using his great assets, which is his speed and his ability to make plays, Krech's vision and ability to kind of control the ice and make things happen at his speed. And I get in somebody's way and am able to hopefully get open and find the back of the net."

Video: CBJ@BOS: Backes lights the lamp off feed from Krejci

  • Tuukka Rask made 15 saves in his eighth win of the season. He improved to 8-1-0 and has now been in goal for all eight Bruins victories this season. "I think we've played solid five-on-five hockey," said Rask. "Pretty much throughout the season, at least the games I've played, we've been solid defensively and for the most part, we've attacked as a five-man unit. Our special teams have gotten better and pretty much the whole package has improved so that's a great thing."
  • Julien confirmed goalie Anton Khudobin, who has been out for several weeks with an upper body injury, will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip to Arizona, Colorado, and Minnesota. Kevan Miller, also out with an upper body injury, will not be on the trip.
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