PHILADELPHIA -- The last time David Krejci was on the ice of what was then the Wachovia Center and is now the Wells Fargo Center, he was lying in pain after taking a devastating open-ice hit from Philadelphia Flyers forward Mike Richards in the Boston Bruins' 4-1 Game 3 win in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals. The hit left Krejci with a broken wrist and seemingly sent the Bruins into a tailspin, as that would be the last win they would get in the series.
The Flyers won the next four, completing a historic comeback and leaving Krejci and the Bruins wondering what would have happened if their star center hadn't been lost for the rest of that series?
"I try not to think about what happened last year, but it's in the back of my head," Krejci admitted after the Bruins' 7-3 win in Game 1 on Saturday. "You don't forget these things that often, but I try not to think about it almost at all. It's hard, but I just try to stay focused for the game, and my teammates helped me out today."
Krejci -- who said that the Flyers players were reminding him of that hit during Saturday's game -- helped his team in a big way, as he lit the lamp twice and assisted on two goals. It was by far his best performance of the playoffs after he struggled under a smothering Montreal defense that focused much of their game plan on shutting the center down in Round 1.
"Yeah, obviously there is the yapping back and forth, so they kind of let me know," Krejci said of the reminders. "Like I said, you just have to stay focused, and I think that's what we did tonight."
Krejci did stay focused, and instead of chirping back, he did his talking with his stick.
The Bruins and their fans had been waiting for the Czech pivot to deliver, and he deliver he did, doing his best to put that fateful night last May behind him.
"Great game, a great way to start; he definitely played amazing tonight and it showed on the score sheet, but off that, he was pretty good for us," Nathan Horton said of his linemate. "He is a special player. We want him to have the puck as much as possible, and he creates so much off of that and he gives everyone else a chance to score and a chance to be in the play."
Bruins coach Claude Julien praised Krejci along with Horton and Milan Lucic for their perseverance through the first round.
"I think that, as I mentioned before the series, Montreal paid a lot of attention to that line," Julien said. "They had some hard matchups against that line and certainly did a great job. Montreal is a great defensive team, and that is their strength. They put their best players against that line and made it tough on them, but luckily we had some depth and other lines that came up big for us.
"This team that we are playing right now is very similar to ours. They are big, strong and physical. Right now, this is more of a series going head-to-head."
Julien credited Krejci's quiet confidence for enabling him to finally break through and have the type of game the Bruins know he can have.
"He is more of a quiet person and doesn't say much, but once you have him for a long time, you know his demeanor and how he operates," Julien said. "He is a very determined individual, and there are times where he puts so much pressure on himself, but once he finds his stride, he is a very determined player.
"Hopefully, this game has really helped him and that keeps him going that way. David Krejci was a real good player for us [Saturday]. There is no doubt there, and he's capable of being that and I think he's ready to face this challenge."