Just a couple weeks ago, I was ready to annoint David Krejci’s line — completed by Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler — as the Boston Bruins’ No. 1. But as of right now, that trio can’t claim that status, and not just because Phil Kessel and Milan Lucic have gotten healthy and rejoined Marc Savard.
The numbers right now for what’s generously called the Bruins’ second line are a bit ugly. The rookie Wheeler has popped in just one goal in the club’s last 13 games. Krejci has just one goal (scored on the power play off a defenseman’s leg) in the last eight games. And Ryder, who missed one game with the flu, has just one goal in the last seven outings.
Wheeler, for one, isn’t worried.
“Last week, how many posts did I hit? I hit three last week. It’s just, you know? Sometimes the puck doesn’t go in the net,” the left winger explained after practice today at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass. “Maybe earlier in the season all three of those would’ve gone in. You never know. I gauge myself based on the scoring chances you get. As long as you’re getting chances, what else can you really do?”
Krejci agreed that it’s not time to panic.
“I think we have great energy and we have the jump but the puck’s not going in right now. … But thing’s are good,” the center said. “If we don’t score goals, then we just try to play good defensively. And so far, it’s working out.”
Krejci’s right, it is working out. The Bruins are 3-0-1 since the All-Star break against some of the Eastern Conference’s toughest foes. And that’s why Wheeler isn’t hanging his head over his lack of lamp-lighters.
“Whenever the team’s winning, whenever the team’s going well, there’s no room for discouragement,” said Wheeler, who’s still fourth among rookies in points and goals. “It’s a long season. There’s going to be times like that when the puck doesn’t want to find the back of the net. Over time, you can still create a lot offensively and get assists and stuff like that.”