BOSTON – With just two of their next nine games at home, the Bruins made the most of their home ice advantage and pummeled the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 Saturday afternoon. Claude Julien got the win in his 500th game leading the Bruins, putting his record at 284-158-58.
Tory Krug tied a career-high with three points while Daniel Paille scored the equalizer in the first period after a goal by Winnpeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien opened the scoring.
“I was sitting back there and luckily it went to Kruger [Torey Krug] as he pinched, and he saw me the whole way and I could see him looking at me the whole entire way,” Paille said. “So it was pretty much easy for me to try and get that in and it was nice.”
It was a huge play for Paille, as he showed a return to form after missing time with a goal and assist.
“I feel normal again, which is huge,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way so I think – I’m still slightly sore, but I don’t sense any delay or anything like that. So it’s a good thing I guess. For me right now the main focus is to skate and compete like I have been. So I think coming back has been helpful.
The Bruins then took the lead on a Krug slapshot that was deflected into the net by a Jets defenseman. Krug scored twice Saturday, the same amount of goals he had scored in his previous 26 games.
“Trying to get it through, and get pucks to net,” Krug said when asked what his strategy was on the shot. “As defenseman, that’s one of your jobs back there – when you’re on the offensive blue line just get pucks to the net. You saw Carl [Soderberg] was somewhat alone, I guess he wasn’t because their guy tipped it. I was just shooting through stick and hoping something good was happening.”
It was a crucial performance for Krug, who has been struggling and now has to replace an injured Dennis Seidenberg. “It’s a big hole to fill; such a great player,” he said. “He comes to battle every single night. It’s not just going to be just going to be one person, it’s not just me, it’s not just Bart [Matt Bartkowski]. We don’t have to do anything crazy, just play simple hockey and do what we do best and just all of us are here for a reason.
It was simple enough as Krug and Florek played crucial roles in a convincing win in which they responded to the Jets with force. Krug tipped in a rebound four minutes later and then Reilly Smith iced the game with a backhand shot at 9:59 in the third period.
Saturday also marked the NHL debut of Justin Florek, who was called up from Providence on an emergency basis. Florek will return to Providence Sunday, but is under consideration for joining the Bruins on their California trip.
“It was pretty crazy, like I said I got the call this morning, Don Sweeney woke me up so – I was actually talking to Iggy [Jarome Iginla] before the game and he said that’s what happened to him,” Florek said. “You don’t have too much time to think about it so it was actually pretty nice just hopping in my car, drive up here and get ready to play in the game rather than think about it for a day so it was pretty good.”
The Bruins go to Anaheim Tuesday and work their way up the Pacific coast, facing the Kings before going to the Sharks a week from Saturday.