David Krejci was one of the Boston Bruins' best players in the playoff run to their first Stanley Cup title in 39 seasons last spring. But this season he has struggled to find consistency, with just 40 points in 53 games and a minus-7 through Friday's loss in Winnipeg.
With his regular linemate and friend Nathan Horton missing the past 10 games with a concussion, Krejci has struggled even more. The playmaking center scored his 12th goal of the season in the loss to the Jets, but it was his first goal since Horton's absence.
Krejci recently acknowledged that he does indeed miss the size and skill Horton brings to the ice.
"I miss him," Krejci said. "The team misses him. He's one of our best players and we definitely miss him. I'm just so used to him and I know what he does. We just read off each other so well."
The 6-foot, 188-pound Krejci has admittedly benefitted from the size on his wings with Horton (6-2, 229 pounds) and Milan Lucic (6-4, 220 pounds). He's lokking forward to having both of them there again and regaining that chemistry.
"They're big bodies and I use them right," said Krejci. "Once [Horton] comes back we'll get the chemistry going right away because the playoffs are right around the corner."
For now, Krejci plans on battling through and trying to create offense with other linemates.
"I'm trying my best. It's a combination of everything together," said Krejci. "You've just got to fight through it. I'm sure my teammates will help me out. I'm going to get back on track. I've always done it before."
That's exactly what Bruins coach Claude Julien is hoping for. He wants Krejci and the entire team to pick up the slack with Horton and Rich Peverley out.
"There's a chemistry that gets affected there. There's no doubt," Julien said. "They've been together for two years now. They've had great success together. But at the same time you have to look at yourself as an individual and say, whether or not you have that guy next to you, I still need to bring my game to the table every night. It's about analyzing your play versus who you're playing with. It's a challenge, but you've just got to dig a little deeper."