BOSTON – Prior to Monday’s game in Philadelphia, both Bruins center David Krejci and Philadelphia winger Kris Versteeg – long ago linemates for Boston’s Providence (AHL) farm club – explained how their friendship had been on hold for a lengthy period of time leading up to the Eastern Conference semifinals series between their clubs.
During the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win that put them ahead, 2-0, heading into tonight’s Game 3 at the TD Garden, the feisty forwards proved their between-the-boards disdain for one another. Late in the second period, the two players exchanged shoves and checks and Krejci even chased Versteeg onto the Flyers’ bench.
For that effort, Krejci earned a roughing minor and Versteeg got two minutes for holding. When the two players got out of the box, they went at it again with some shoves and uncalled crosschecks.
“There is no friends, and it’s not going to stop,” said Versteeg after his team’s morning skate today. “I’m going to have to keep going at a guy like that. He’s playing pretty well. And it doesn’t matter who you’re going after, you have to play hard on them and like I said, they are a good team. Guys like [Krejci], he can make things [happen]. So he’s a guy you want to key on and be hard on, but that’s not the only guy. There’s guys like [Patrice Bergeron ] and [Mark] Recchi, these guys have been around a while and they know what it takes to win.
“You’ve really got to bear down when it comes your opportunity either to hit them or let them know. But they’re veterans, they know what they need to do and I know what I have to do.”
After he scored the overtime game-winner in Game 2, Krejci said that Versteeg had been holding him from the bench and that he didn’t deserve a penalty. He also expressed a philosophy about the physical play that he didn’t exactly follow in the game.
“Well that’s part of the playoffs. I knew that was what was going to happen. I just have to keep playing my game and focus on the things I can control,” he said. “I can’t really worry about what they are going to do to me too much. Just go out there and play my game …”
Krejci’s game is to dish and score, like he did in the first two games of this series. And Versteeg’s role is to throw his body at top offensive opponents and chip in when he can. Basically, on the ice they should naturally be as friendly as cats and dogs … and that dynamic seems to be well-established.