There are two things you generally should know about preseason hockey.
First, don’t pay much attention to the line combinations you see in training camp. And second, any player’s one-off performance in a game where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter usually shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
After seeing what David Krejci and David Pastrnak could be capable of as linemates, you might want to forget both of those points.
Pastrnak scored both goals in the Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, with Krejci picking up the primary assist on each. The latter, coming in the newly initiated 3-on-3 overtime, showed exactly how the second year rookie could benefit by playing with veteran playmaker.
“He’s a great passer so I kind of expected him to pass to me,” said Pastrnak, who scored the game winner 12 seconds in overtime. “He made me turn for a one-timer and gave me a good saucer, so I had pretty easy work.”
Torey Krug, the third man to round out the Bruins’ trio in overtime, got the secondary assist on Pastrnak’s game winner.
“Anytime you have a disher like (Krejci) out there, you’re going to have a good opportunity to shoot the puck on a two-on-one,” said Krug. “He’s able to make that saucer pass like no one else in this league. So it’s a good two guys to have out on the ice, and it just fell into place nicely.”
As a rookie year last season, Pastrnak skated mostly with Ryan Spooner, playing third line minutes. Now that Krejci is fully healthy, he’ll be looking for new linemates to replace Milan Lucic and the revolving right wing. Pastrnak has a legitimate opportunity to cement his status.
Tuesday night served as what could be the debut of a line that could very well fill out the Bruins top six group. With Matt Beleskey on the left wing adding size and clearing space, it should give Krejci the ability to better connect with passes to Pastrnak. And as long as the second-year skater has the puck, good things can happen. His first goal was a nifty backhand spin that went past Capitals goalie Phillip Grubauer on a bad angle.
“I kind of got a good pass from Krejci, and had it a little in front of the goal line so I just tried to hit the net,” said Pastrnak. “I didn’t have a lot of shots before so I just tried to get it into the net for a rebound, or whatever, but the puck went in so it was a good goal.”
The pattern is here, too. Krejci connected with the right passes at the right time. After missing 35 games last season, and playing a whole bunch more not at 100%, the addition of Krejci’s offense will give a new Bruins lineup the boost they need. And by playing with Pastrnak? There’s a connection that needs to be made.
“I know that you saw it in the overtime,” said Krug. “That’s vintage Krejci right there.”
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Mike Miccoli covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers and has been a credentialed member of the media for all Bruins’ home games for the past five years. As a former player, coach and official, Miccoli has been around the game of hockey since the age of three. Along with his work on THW, Miccoli has also been published in the New England Hockey Journal, Improper Bostonian magazine and on BostInno.