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Krejci banged up by glass

Center expected to play Game 2

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / April 14, 2012
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One moment, David Krejci was upright on the TD Garden ice, celebrating Chris Kelly’s overtime goal in Thursday’s 1-0 Game 1 win over the Capitals. Seconds later, after a loose pane of glass flattened him from behind, Krejci was lying on his stomach.

Krejci likely will be in the lineup for Game 2 Saturday afternoon at the Garden, but his neck was sore enough to keep him off the ice for Friday’s practice at the Garden. Coach Claude Julien decided to nix Krejci’s practice after consulting with team trainers.

“He’s scheduled to play [Saturday],’’ Julien said. “It’s really not that big of an issue, even though it seems to be right now. He’s fine.’’

Krejci’s condition could have been worse. He was facing the Washington net when a 121-pound acrylic sheet, 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide, was jarred loose by celebrating fans. The pane fell forward, struck Krejci in the neck and shoulder area, and knocked him to the ice.

“It was a fluke accident,’’ Julien added. “It’s unfortunate. In a way, we’re kind of fortunate it wasn’t worse than what it is. With the weight of that glass, it could have been a lot worse. It could have been a lot more damaging. But he’s fine. We probably dodged a bullet there.’’

As Tim Thomas and Brad Marchand approached to check on their teammate, Krejci got to his feet and skated off the ice.

“I looked at what happened. I didn’t expect that to happen,’’ Krejci said. “I got up and skated away.’’

Krejci also needed stitches to close a wound under his nose. At 18:27 of the first period, Jay Beagle opened a gash by high-sticking Krejci.

Rich Peverley, who had been the right wing on the first line in Game 1, replaced Krejci at center during practice. Jordan Caron assumed Peverley’s position. Caron was a healthy scratch for Game 1. He had been the extra forward on the fourth line during practice prior to Game 1.

The first line didn’t create much offensive pressure in Game 1 during five-on-five play. Krejci had zero shots in 20 minutes 19 seconds of ice time. Milan Lucic landed just one shot in 18:33 of action. Two of Peverley’s four shots came on the power play.

But the Bruins can’t afford to lose their most offensive-minded center. They are already without first-line right wing Nathan Horton (concussion). On Friday, they practiced without two-thirds of the No. 1 line that started off the regular season.

In Game 1, the Bruins managed only one goal against Braden Holtby. The Washington rookie turned back 29 shots, including 17 in the second period.

Holtby was at his best in the first 40 minutes, when he should have been his most nervous. With each save, Holtby looked more confident. On Kelly’s winning goal, defenseman Dennis Wideman appeared to get a piece of the center’s shot.

As sharp as Holtby was in his NHL playoff debut, the 22-year-old could count on his teammates. The Capitals hammered the Bruins on the forecheck. In the neutral zone, Washington gummed up passing lanes. In their zone, the Capitals got in front of shots and blocked as much rubber as they could.

“That team, you can see they’re committed to defense,’’ Brian Rolston said. “They did a really good job in the neutral zone. Their D were standing up on us. We really couldn’t make plays through the neutral zone.’’

The Bruins attempted 62 shots. Only 30 were on target. They missed the net on 10 attempts. The Capitals blocked 22 shots. Roman Hamrlik led the charge with five blocks. Troy Brouwer was credited with four blocked shots.

“They are very good,’’ Benoit Pouliot said of Washington’s shot-blocking abilities. “It’s one of their main things. I thought they did a great job. They had a lot of blocked shots. It’s a matter of getting the puck through. It’s not easy. It’s easy to say, but it’s not easy to do. Worst comes to worst, we have to put it off the boards back there. The forwards will get it. It’s something we’ll have to work on.’’

During the regular season, the Capitals blocked 640 shots, sixth-most in the league. Blocks can be a deceiving stat. Six of the top 10 shot-blocking teams missed the playoffs, indicating they spent too much time without the puck in their zone.

The Bruins were satisfied with the quality of their scoring chances. But with some tweaks, they should free themselves up for better looks on Holtby.

“The one thing they did well, to their credit, is that they did a lot of shot blocking,’’ Julien said. “More than I’ve seen them do in the past. But that’s playoff hockey, right? You’ve seen guys get out of their comfort zone and do things they don’t always do during the regular season. I thought they did a great job of that. We’ve played teams that enjoy blocking shots. We’ve just got to make sure we’re capable of getting those shots through and finding those open lanes so we can make it to the net.’’

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

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