In many ways, Torey Krug will always be defined by things that he can’t really change about himself: he is generally listed at 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds and he will never be a shutdown defenseman in the NHL (mostly since power forwards will always dwarf him both in size and strength). With that being said, there is a reason that an undrafted free agent from Michigan State made the Bruins in 2013 and has been a staple of the team since then. He is Boston’s (23-18-5) most skilled defenseman so when his skating game is on and his shots are getting through to the net (as they are right now), he adds another much-needed dimension to the Bruins’ offensive attack.
Krug (4 goals, 24 assists) had a goal and assist in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Flyers (22-17-6) at TD Garden. He has scored a goal in three straight games and has three goals and four assists in his last six contests. What’s more, he has three goals and 11 assists in his last 11 games. Over the summer, he signed a four-year contract worth $21 million (his 1st big deal in the NHL) so naturally that came with added pressure to produce on a regular basis. When Krug got off to a slow start this season, it would be easy to say that the Bruins overpaid him. Still, he’s stuck with it and especially lately the results have spoken for themselves.
“The confidence has always been there,” said Krug. “The key for me has been sticking with it and taking the same approach to every game.” As much as the outside world looks at his statistics to judge him by, Krug knows that there is one category more important than any other for a team trying to break a two-year playoff drought. “It’s nice to get rewarded (with goals and assists) but I’d rather win games. We can sense that we are on the verge of something with the power play clicking.”
Indeed, Boston’s power play scored twice vs. Philadelphia and that maligned unit has goals in nine of its last 12 games (11 for 42, 26.2% over that span). Krug is front and center on that crew as he leads the team with 12 power play points (2 goals, 10 assists). He’s second on the team in assists, only two behind left wing and All-Star Brad Marchand (17 goals, 26 assists) who is similarly on fire. His goal on Saturday was a beauty as he beat the Flyers’ defensemen to the net to finish off a pretty passing sequence from Marchand and David Pastrnak (19 goals, 14 assists). Krug’s assist came shortly after his goal in the second period as he fed Marchand who teed up Patrice Bergeron (9 goals, 9 assists) for a one-timer on the power play.
The Bruins host the Islanders (16-17-8) on Monday afternoon (1, NESN). New York is currently in last-place in the Eastern Conference but they have already won at the Garden this season (4-2 on Dec. 20).
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate