BOSTON – Torey Krug became an instant favourite in Boston when he was called up during last year’s playoffs and had four goals in the first five NHL post-season games of his career.
After a quick start this season, with six goals in about a month, the 22-year-old defenceman slowed down and was scoreless for 11 straight games. In the first period Saturday against Winnipeg, he had a giveaway in the Bruins’ zone that helped the Jets take a 1-0 lead.
“That’s frustrating,” said Krug, who assisted on the tying goal and then scored twice to lead Boston to a 4-1 victory. “It’s all about putting it into the past and forgetting about it.”
Daniel Paille also scored for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 36 saves for the Bruins before they embark on a three-game California trip.
Dustin Byfuglien scored and Ondrej Pavelec stopped 25 shots for Winnipeg. The Jets have lost two in a row since bringing a three-game winning streak into the new year.
Byfuglien gave the Jets the lead midway through the first period after Krug failed to clear the zone. But Boston tied it when Krug coasted in from the blue line and found Paille on the other side of the crease for quick redirect.
The Bruins took the lead 3 minutes into the second when Krug wristed one through traffic and made it 3-1 four minutes later when he put another wrist shot on net and it was redirected past the goalie by Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba.
“He handled himself well. He played well. When he’s on top of his game, offensively, he makes things happen,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Just a few times it’s about him making safe plays. That’s a part of his game he’s working on.”
Krug, who got a stick in the face on his final shift and had two cuts on his lip to show for it, said he was hoping that the first goal would have been tipped in by Justin Florek, who was making his NHL debut. The second one was first credited to Carl Soderberg before it was changed to Krug.
“Any time you can’t contribute the way you were before, it can be frustrating,” Krug said.
Bruins defenceman Adam McQuaid said it was nice to see Krug contributing goals again.
“The guy’s capable of doing it,” he said. “It brings an element to our ‘D’ corps that we need.”
Boston made it 4-1 when Reilly Smith cleaned up after Brad Marchand’s shot got past Pavelec.
There were three fights in the game, with Zdeno Chara matching up against Chris Thorburn in the first period, followed 2 seconds later by Matt Fraser and James Wright. McQuaid fought with former Bruin Mark Stuart in the third period.
“It was an opportunity for me to do something during the game early on, so I was trying to get into it,” Thorburn said. “But any time you can get Chara off the ice too, a guy of his calibre, that’s also a plus.”
Notes: The Bruins recalled Florek from Providence of the AHL on an emergency basis for the game. It was his NHL debut. … It was Julien’s 500th game as Bruins coach. He also coached the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils before coming to Boston in 2007. … The U.S. women’s Olympic hockey team attended the game and received a standing ovation and “U-S-A!” chant during the second period. … The Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise has lost 12 straight in Boston.