It’s no secret that the bigger, stronger Bruins defensemen have trouble with the quicker teams in the NHL, but in particular the Red Wings and Montreal. The Red Wings just so happen to be the team the Bruins have to play in the first round of the playoffs and I think Torey Krug will be key.
For a Bruins team that led the league in plus-minus, the only one who held true was Torey Krug. Krug has been a healthy scratch a few times late in the season making some wonder if he’ll make the playoff roster as anything more than a power play guy, but his skills may translate to this series more than any other Bruins defenseman.
Krug grew up near Detroit, opting to leave Michigan State in East Lansing to sign with the Boston Bruins. Krug came on to the scene hard in last year’s playoff run and he’s proven he has that ability to rise in big moments posting 6 points in 15 post-season games and was a plus-5 in just under 16 minutes per game.
With the latest news of Seidenberg not being likely to return, it brings up the question of who is paired with Boychuk as the team’s fourth defenseman? That decision could make or break this series for Boston.
The fourth defenseman is going to get substantial ice time – the fourth defenseman can’t be stashed on the bench and only play eight minutes per game. The fourth defenseman will play about 17-20 minutes per game and those minutes are vital.
The Bruins addition at the trade deadline was another bigger defenseman Andrej Meszaros. They needed a defenseman, but he fits the same build as the others, which is fine against most teams, but not Detroit.
Andrej Meszaros is a minus-2 in two games this season against the Red Wings. Bartkowski played in two of the four games this season against Detroit and is a minus-2. Neither of these two are impressive and I don’t want them getting 18 minutes of ice time, I want Krug.
Krug is a plus-1 against the Red Wings and there’s a reason for that. Not only does Krug have exceptional offensive skills for a defenseman, but he’s smaller and quicker and can skate with Detroit. Against Montreal (another quick team) this season, Krug is a plus-1.
As a contrast, take top Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara in eight games against either Detroit or Montreal and he’s a minus-4. Boychuk was a minus-3 in those same games.
Krug offers a different challenge to Detroit as they’ll have to account for his speed. Krug is a liability in his own end occasionally, but the trade-off in Detroit’s end is well worth it. He’ll put the same pressure on Detroit five-on-five as he does on the power play. Racing for pucks and keeping up with Detroit’s speed is something that is invaluable and it’s what makes me think Krug has to play.
This post-season, Krug will have a little something extra to play for in Detroit as his parents and younger brother will be in attendance to root him and the Bruins on. His dad said “If Boston sticks to what they’ve been doing all year, they should have some good success throughout the playoffs.”
Krug’s played in 79 games for the Bruins this season so undoubtedly that is what Kyle Krug meant when he said he wants them to stick with what they’ve been doing this season. Play Krug.