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Bench gave Krejci heads-up

He heeded warning, braced for a big hit

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / May 20, 2011

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TAMPA — Late in the first period of Boston’s 2-0 win over Tampa Bay last night, David Krejci started to turn up the ice. During the turn, Krejci heard his teammates on the bench screaming. They had spotted Marc-Andre Bergeron roll over the boards, sprint toward Krejci, and prepare to launch himself into the center.

“They gave me a little heads-up,’’ Krejci said. “I got a little ready for it.’’

So even though Krejci never saw Bergeron approaching, he had an idea that a freight train was coming. That heads-up might have been the warning that saved Krejci from a serious injury.

Bergeron flattened Krejci at center ice and was called for elbowing at 17:29 of the first. Krejci remained on one knee for several moments, then skated to the bench, where he remained for the rest of the period.

NHL protocol requires players who are suspected of having suffered a concussion to report to a quiet room for evaluation. Krejci, who missed six games this season because of a concussion, never left the bench, which indicated he hadn’t suffered a head injury.

Krejci didn’t play for the rest of the first, but he came out for the second, then finished the game. Krejci scored one goal, landed two shots, won 13 of 18 faceoffs, and recorded two takeaways in 18:34 of ice time.

“Not bad,’’ Krejci said of how he felt. “I was a little sore. But I feel pretty good.’’

Thornton takes a seat Shawn Thornton had a good idea that when Patrice Bergeron came in, he would be the odd man out. The fourth-line right wing was averaging 6:30 of ice time in the playoffs. Unlike linemates Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, Thornton doesn’t kill penalties.

But Thornton went through his regular pregame routine. He participated in the morning skate. Thornton was on the ice for warm-ups. And even though he didn’t take his usual spot during line rushes, Thornton’s presence was felt.

“I’ve had the pleasure of playing with him since we came into the organization at the same time,’’ said Milan Lucic. “He’s never going to complain or feel sorry for himself in a situation like that. He knows his role. That’s what makes him who he is.’’

Assuming everybody stays healthy, Thornton will be in suit and tie again in Game 4.

“It’s about the team right now, and through a long series, you see changes all the time,’’ coach Claude Julien said before the game. “The best thing is, whoever that player ends up being has to be ready to jump into the lineup when he’s called upon. That’s been the case since Day 1.’’

Complimentary gift Throughout the series, Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher and the Lightning players have been quick to praise the Bruins.

Boucher on Bergeron: “He’s a great player. Great individual.’’

Boucher on Tim Thomas prior to Game 2: “I’m sure Tim Thomas is going to be at his best.’’

Steven Stamkos on Tyler Seguin: “He’s playing really well. He’s been their top player.’’

Yesterday morning, when asked about the Lightning’s approach toward slowing down Seguin, Julien turned the conversation toward the Lightning’s never-ending praise, starting with Boucher, who has a degree in psychology.

“Tampa’s been very good at complimenting our team,’’ said Julien. “They do a really good job of that.

“I think Tampa’s got some pretty good speed themselves, with [Martin] St. Louis and those kinds of guys. Stamkos. They’ve got the same kinds of players. I think they’re pretty well-served on their side.

“I don’t think they’re worried so much about Tyler more than they want to flatter him. We know the mind games that teams play. Right now, we’re just focused on what we have to do here.’’

A nod to Fleming The Lightning are without assistant coach Wayne Fleming, who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. Fleming was an assistant with the Islanders when Chara was on Long Island. Asked how much Fleming helped him develop, Chara said, “Quite a bit. He was always positive, always in a good mood. He was willing to share things, help you out. Obviously it’s very unfortunate that he’s dealing with a sickness. Just one of those things. I texted him a few weeks ago. He seems to be doing better.’’ . . . For the first time in the series, St. Louis skated alongside Vincent Lecavalier. St. Louis had been with Stamkos. Lecavalier and St. Louis combined for seven shots.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto

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