Late in the second period of the Bruins' 7-3 beat-down of the Flyers in Saturday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center, David Krejci had to know he was officially off the hard-luck list compiled by the hockey gods every postseason.
During a Boston power play, the clever center was separated from the puck in front of his goalie, Tim Thomas. The culprit was the Flyers' Kris Versteeg, who simply had to gain control of the puck for a golden chance to beat Thomas from in close. But Krejci recovered in time to bump Versteeg, preventing any harm.
Otherwise, Krejci was the best player on the ice. He scored two goals, including the one that gave Boston a 1-0 lead, and assisted on two others. He was plus-3, and he won half of his faceoffs.
Mostly, though, Krejci was doing what he needed to do to put the bitter memory of last year's conference semifinals against the Flyers behind him.
Five minutes into Game 3 of that series, Mike Richards drilled Krejci with an open-ice hit that sent the 25-year-old Czech to the hospital for emergency surgery on his dislocated left wrist, and left the Bruins without their top-line center for the rest of the series. As has been noted now and then in the buildup to this series, the Bruins suffered a historic meltdown, blowing a three-games-to-none lead.
The pain in Krejci's wrist was matched only by the ache in his heart as he helplessly watched the horror unfold. It's too early to say Krejci settled a debt, but at least he received the initial payment.
"I try not to think about what happened last year, but it's in the back of my head so, you know, you don't forget things that happened like that," he said. "I try not to think about it at all, but it's hard."
The Flyers were in a giving mood most of the time they were in their end of the ice, and Krejci was quick to take what he could. The game had not yet gone two minutes when he slipped behind defenseman Matt Carle and flipped a backhander by goalie Brian Boucher.
Krejci was instrumental in breaking a 1-1 tie when he handcuffed Boucher with a hard shot from the slot. Nathan Horton chipped the rebound past Boucher to make it 2-1 with 36 seconds left in the first. Krejci then beat Boucher late in the second by tucking in a rebound that made it 4-1. Sergei Bobrovsky came in after the Bruins' fifth goal a couple of minutes later.
"We talked about starting out on the right foot in the series, and I think we did a good job of it," Krejci said.