VANCOUVER — To this point in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Bruins center David Krejci and linemates Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton have been matched up against some bulky, rugged defensive pairs to mixed results.
The trio heated up toward the end of the Tampa Bay Eastern Conference Final series, with Krejci running his postseason goal total to 10. The line now takes 21 goals and 43 points into the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, which starts tonight against the Canucks at the Rogers Arena.
When Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault has the last change, and even on the road, he likes to have his Selke Trophy favorite Ryan Kesler against the opponent’s top center. Kesler has done an outstanding job against Jonathan Toews, Mike Fisher and Joe Thornton through the first three rounds. So Kesler vs. Krejci might be a constant showdown.
Kesler was asked about that this morning after an optional skate at the Rogers Arena.
“That line’s very skilled. If I am, in fact, matched up against that line, it’s going to be a tough challenge, just like every series,” said Kesler, who added that he didn’t want to get ahead of himself.
Kesler was a finalist for the Selke last season and will probably win it this year.
“I take a lot of pride in the defensive part of my game,” he said. “Being matched up against really good offensive guys like that is definitely a challenge. I definitely relish the role.”