By Mike Miccoli
It started with a power play goal.
Nine minutes into the first period and 15 seconds into Niklas Kronwall’s holding penalty, Torey Krug blasted a shot from the point past a screened Jimmy Howard for the Bruins first goal of the night.
It’s familiar territory for Krug, who scored four goals in the 2013 postseason as a rookie. Still, tonight’s tally was the first official goal of his professional career.
“I didn’t even think about it,” said Krug on the occasion of his first goal. Milan Lucic, noted team-statistician and the player who had the primary assist on Krug’s goal, was the one who reminded him of his achievement.
Although he’s only played in seven NHL regular season games, Krug looked like a seasoned blue-liner for the Bruins on Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. His five shots on goal were tied for most on the Bruins in their second game of the regular season. And even though he partnered with Adam McQuaid as a bottom-pairing defenseman, the rookie made a statement with his strong effort on the Bruins’ first power play unit.
“It’s about being in the right area,” said Krug. “Obviously on the power play you’ve got one more person than they do, so somebody is going to be open. It was important that Looch drew so much attention and he made an unbelievable play. He just has that sense where he knew I was open and threw it there and it was right on my tape.”
Krug’s second point of the night came on the Bruins’ third power play of the game, a perfect feed to Zdeno Chara who then dangled past Howard. The Bruins finished the game converting on two of their three opportunities on the man-advantage. Krug later commended a pass that teammate Dougie Hamilton made as inspiration for his play on Chara’s goal.
“In the second period, Dougie tried to stretch for a breakaway pass,” said Krug. “Z [Chara] made a comment—‘Oh I like that I like that, he’s backing him up’ because even if he misses that pass they’re going to be thinking about it. I guess they weren’t thinking about it because I hit Z and he was by himself so it’s good to try things like that and it definitely keeps the penalty kill on your heels.”
If his play continues, Krug could very well be the link that has been missing from the Bruins power play for so many years: a puck-moving defenseman who can quarterback the man-advantage. And while it’s still way too early to be building any statues, it’s one pretty good start for the rookie defensemen.
A Michigan native, Krug played against his hometown team for the first time in his career. And although he was trying to stay modest, even he couldn’t hide his happiness on the type of game he played.
“Watching them have all of this success that they had [when] growing up, it’s just pretty cool,” said Krug. “I watched all of these guys that are still on the team and Jimmy Howard, so it’s pretty cool scoring a goal against him.”
It ended for Krug with two points.