Watching David Krejci play through 16 National Hockey League seasons, it’s no surprise the veteran shared the spotlight in Monday’s milestone day.
In the Bruins 6-0 thumping of the Philadelphia Flyers, Krejci appeared in his 1000th career game, all of which have come with the Bruins.
While entering the game, Krejci may have been the story, it was the performance of his linemates and fellow countrymates that became the story.
David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha scored two goals each, Krejci assisting on three of them.
“I think a lot of players have so much respect for him. And rightfully so,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said. “He’s a Bruins legend and he showed why tonight. Makes everyone around him better.”
Monday’s performance encapsulated Krejci’s unselfish ways and his ability to make plays happen with puck moving magic.
"I was mad, I really wanted him to score, but you know that's [Krejci]. He loves to pass, and I get it. The kind of player he is, it makes him happier when he can set up players to score goals,” Pastrnak said.
“There’s not many kinds of players that are a playmaker like he is, so for me it's a huge honor to be his teammate and to become such a good friend with him and he's been with me since day one.”
Krejci’s consistency has always been key in the success the organization has found over the last 12 seasons. Often sitting in the shadows of Patrice Bergeron, Krejci’s importance can’t be overlooked.
"[Boston's] been my home, I'm very thankful and grateful that they gave me a call in the summer to come back. Obviously, there were some expectations, but I'm just glad the way the team's playing,” Krejci said. “Obviously, the record speaks for itself. I feel like this is a special year.”
Krejci’s return seemingly was the missing puzzle to the Bruins offensive depth issues from a year ago. As Montgomery alluded to, he makes everyone around him a better player and the trickle-down effect from his presence on the Bruins’ second line has been evident.
"I think the only reason we're an elite team in the league is because he came back,'' Montgomery, said. "Not the only reason, but a huge factor in that. He gives us the opportunity to have great depth.''
Fresh off Saturday’s playoff-like victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins announced the contract extension of Zacha, signing the versatile forward to a four-year contract extension worth $4.75 million annually.
"When I got the news that I was going to be traded here in the summer, I was hoping that I was going to show myself and will be able to be here for a long time and I'm happy that it happened," said Zacha.
"It's a start. It's my first season and I have to prove myself and show why I'm here and why I'm going to be here for a longer time and it's just super exciting for me to be part of this."
Through one game post new contract, so far so good. Monday afternoon was arguably Zacha’s best game as a Bruin.
“With Zacha, I guess if you signed for $18 million or whatever it was, you put a little more pep in your step, shoot the puck more,” Montgomery said with a smile. “Hoping it gives him a shot first mentality more often, because he does have a great release and he does shoot the puck heavy.”
With two more goals Monday, Pastrnak is up to 35, two back of Connor McDavid who leads the league with 37. Pastrnak is on pace to exceed his career high in goals, a mark he set in 2019-20 when he scored 48 times in 70 games.
The comfortability and familiarity of playing with Krejci certainly has helped Pastrnak.
"It's easier if you know each other as a player, right? We've played sometimes together already, so we know what to expect from each other,” Pastrnak said. “When you play with some players for a while, you know what to do and where to go. And with [Krejci], we have such a special chemistry, we don't even need to talk to each other."
As much as Monday was an accomplishment for Krejci, the veteran hopes to achieve a few accomplishments before the season ends.
A second Stanley Cup wouldn’t be a bad one.