BOSTON — Center David Krejci’s first NHL hat trick in the Boston Bruins’ 8-5 win over Toronto tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden ignited a swarm of hats to fly onto the ice — albeit with a little delay.
But alas, the second-year forward was not graced by the toss of a bra the way his longtime linemate Blake Wheeler was earlier this season after his first NHL hat trick.
“No, I wasn’t as popular as Blake,” quipped Krejci, continuing to prove that English is catching up to Czech in the race to be his No. 1 language.
The hat trick was Krejci’s first since he was in the QMJHL playoffs with Gatineau against Drummondville. That night, however, there were no hats on the ice in the opponent’s rink.
While two of Krejci’s goals were relatively bunnies in front, his middle goal was a masterpiece move that laid out goaltender Curtis Joseph and came from an almost impossible angle, as Krejci skated below the goal line and then doubled back to stuff the puck in on his forehand. According to Krejci, it was a case of imitating what he’d seen other guys do before him.
“I was kind of surprised I did a move. I was looking for (linemate Michael Ryder) for a pass and then I couldn’t pass it so I was looking for a shot. And I couldn’t get a shot,” Krejci said. “Even when I went around him by the goal line, I knew that I could come back. I saw so many guys do that already this year in the NHL, so I tried it.”
Krejci, now with 11 goals to go along 21 assists on the season, has come a long way from early last season when he didn’t exactly impress head coach Claude Julien and his staff.
“The first time I saw Krejci here, after a while we decided it was time for him to go back to Providence,” Julien said after the game. “So I don’t think we’ll be sending him down now, especially the way he’s been playing. He was a young guy that needed to get some experience in this league. But at the same time, he wasn’t as confident, he wasn’t as determined to play and compete every night the way he does now. He was a 21-year-old player last year when that happened to him. Again, it’s about giving guys a chance to develop.”
Along with Wheeler, the Bruins also received a hat trick from Milan Lucic this season — the first year that they’ve had three hat tricks since the 2002-03 season (Glen Murray, Marty McInnis and Martin Lapointe).