By Matthew Cahill | Follow Me On Twitter @MWCahill5
For the better part of the last ten years, David Krejci has been one of the best playoff performers for the Boston Bruins and certainly the best during specific stretches. In the Bruins five first-round games against the Capitals, Krejci tallied two assists, giving him 117 career points in the NHL Playoffs. Krejci has recorded his 117 points in 150 games, which is good for second all-time in franchise history behind Ray Bourque, with 161 points over 180 games played. This itself is a great accomplishment, but Krejci is also climbing another list on the top of the franchise leaderboard. He currently sits third on the list for NHL Playoff points by Czech-born players behind future Hockey Hall of Famers Patrick Elias and Jaromir Jagr.
While it’s unlikely that Krejci will catch Jagr in first place on that leaderboard with 201 points, Elias is only ahead of Krejci by eight points at 125. If Krejci begins to play as he has during past cup runs for the Bruins, leapfrogging Elias on the Czech leaderboard is easily attainable this postseason. Because of where he stands on the All-Time Czech Playoff Points list, it’s only right that we take a look back at the runs that got David Krejci here and earned him the nickname “Playoff Krech.”
Although it didn’t last long, David Krejci definitely made the most of his first opportunity in the NHL Playoffs. Although the Bruins would lose to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games, Boston fans saw a flash of the type of play Krejci would bring during the team’s future post-seasons. Throughout the seven games of the series, Krejci had five points, with one goal and four assists. Two of these assists came in game six, the game that many view as the one that sparked the passion back into Bruins hockey in New England, as Krejci assisted on Phil Kessel’s go-ahead goal in the third period and Marco Sturm’s eventual game-winner.
The following year when Bruins met the Canadiens in the first round once again and swept them, Krejci also performed well. He had five points in the four-game sweep, scoring two goals while dishing out three assists. His production dipped slightly as he was held to just three points in Boston’s next series, where the Bruins lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games. However, Krejci still finished with eight points in 11 games.
During the Bruins’ 2010 playoff run, Krejci once again was off to a hot start, scoring eight points in nine games through six games in round one against the Buffalo Sabres and three games in round two against the Philadelphia Flyers. But thanks to a dislocated wrist in game three against the Flyers, Krejci would miss the remainder of the playoffs, and the Bruins would collapse and lose to the Flyers after leading the series 3-0.
Entering the 2011 NHL Playoffs, Bruins fans had seen David Krejci perform well on the postseason stage, with 21 points in 27 career games. However, Krejci flipped a switch and found another level during this memorable playoff run that resulted in Boston’s first Stanley Cup since 1972. In 25 games played, David had the most points of any player during the postseason with 23 and the most goals as well with 12. In addition to this, Krejci had no trouble coming up clutch, as he led the playoffs with four game-winning goals, including an overtime winner in game two of the second round against Philadelphia. Krejci also had the assist on the series-winning goal of the Eastern Conference Finals with a beautiful feed to Nathan Horton to send the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals. Had it not been for a heroic playoff goaltending performance of the ages by Tim Thomas, Krejci may have also found himself the winner of the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy as well as a Stanley Cup Champion.
After an unfamiliar showing in the 2012 playoffs with just three points in seven games, Krejci returned to championship form, once again leading the playoffs in points. He would become only the second Boston Bruin to accomplish this, joining Phil Esposito, who led the postseason in points three times as a member of the Bruins. David scored 26 points in 22 games and also led the postseason with 17 assists. One of his more notable assists of the 17 came on Patrice Bergeron’s game-tying goal in Boston’s historic comeback against the Maple Leafs in game seven of the first round. His nine goals were also tied for the second-most of the 2013 playoffs. Krejci once again missed out on winning the Conn Smythe, as Boston lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. Had they won, Krejci once again would have undoubtedly been in the conversation as the winner.
After missing the playoffs twice and totaling 14 points in 27 games between 2014-2018, Krejci once again played a huge role in the Bruins’ 2019 Stanley Cup Finals run. He totaled 16 points in 24 games and was also fourth in assists during the 2019 playoffs. Although Krejci was never really in contention for the Conn Smythe in 2019, he still played a critical role in helping the Bruins have another chance of lifting the cup, which obviously, unfortunately, fell short.
Following a tremendous revenge tour regular season that resulted in the 2020 President’s Trophy for the Bruins, as well as a long pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Krejci quietly played well during the 2020 NHL playoffs despite the Bruins losing in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. David had 12 points in 13 games, including a late game-tying goal in game five against the Lightning to send the game beyond regulation, where the Bruins would later be eliminated in double overtime to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions.
As the Bruins continue their journey in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, David Krejci needs just nine more points to surpass Patrick Elias for sole possession of second place on the All-Time Czech Playoff Points list. Although he’s been a bit quiet to start with just two points through the first round, David has not played poorly by any means. His line of himself, Taylor Hall, and Craig Smith have generated several chances and will hopefully continue to do so in the second round. Whether it be the Islanders or Penguins in the second round, look for “Playoff Krech” to make serious strides towards that second spot where Patrick Elias sits.