TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Lightning nearly knocked out one of the Bruins’ top centers tonight on the night the another Boston prime pivot made his comeback.
David Krejci celebrated the return of Patrice Bergeron by scoring the only goal the Bruins needed in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final in the first period at the St. Pete Times Forum. Later in the first period, he got his bell rung by a high hit from Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron.
“I’m fine. I don’t think I have to look at it,” said Krejci after the 2-0 win that gave the Bruins a 2-1 series lead. “I’m sure I’m going to see it. The guys told me that the guy just came off the bench. I didn’t even see him.
“They gave me a little heads up, so I got a little ready for it. If they didn’t give me a heads up on the bench, then I would get hit and in a relaxed body and it’d be maybe way worse. But I feel fine, so …”
Krejci missed the ensuing power play and the rest of the first period. But he stayed on the bench instead of retreating to the dressing room.
He returned for the second and looked none the worse for wear.
His goal just 1:09 into the game, his seventh of playoffs, got Boston out front for the first time in the series. That the Bruins won the game was the best news. A close second was that Krejci and Patrice Bergeron both emerged from the performance with their health.