With Savard out, Krejci catapulted to top of Bruins’ center list

Krejci/By S. Bradley

BOSTON — David Krejci might’ve struggled a bit adapting to life as the Bruins’ No. 1 center during the regular season.

In the playoffs, however, and all the way through the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship run, he rose to the occasion and established himself as a player Boston could build around.

Krejci tied for the team lead with 62 points during the regular season but scored just 13 goals. In the playoffs, he nearly matched his goal total with 12 and totaled 23 points in 25 games.

“I think there was some ups and downs during the season,” said Krejci, who was thrust into the No. 1 center’s role because of Marc Savard’s concussion problems. “But I think still, at the end of the year, I think it wasn’t awesome but it was a good regular season. And then in the playoffs … I think we played really well and I think we played just like a first line should play.”

Krejci centered Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton nearly all season. That he was able to put up such great numbers while Lucic was battling a broken toe and Horton was fighting through a separated shoulder is a testament both to his winger’s resiliency and his talents. It helped that Krejci, who two years ago played through a hip injury that required offseason surgery and last season saw his season ended in the second round due to a dislocated wrist was “100 percent.”

Handling life as the focus of attention to opposing top defense pairs took some getting used to. In the biggest moments of the postseason, Krejci and his linemates took care of business.

“I’d done it before a couple years ago when Savvy was hurt, or Bergy, I had to be in their spots,” said Krejci. “So I was kind of used to it. But this year it was a whole season. So I had some tough games, but I still think it was a good year. And especially in the playoffs, I thought we were dominant as a team, as a line. I’m pretty happy.”

The 25-year-old Krejci is signed for next season, as are Lucic and Horton. So the Bruins should have their top trio together for another season.

“We’ll worry about it later,” said Krejci.

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