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Playoffs? As goes David Krejci, so go the Bruins

The #2 center is the engine behind much of the Bruins’ success, or the reason for many of their failures.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

(This post was written by a contributor, Al Saniuk. Follow Al on Twitter: @prideandpower1)

David Krejci is a perfectly adequate second-line center in the NHL. He’s not flashy, nor are his numbers. But he is a consistent 50-60 point player, year after year, as long as he’s healthy.

Drafted in the second round (63rd overall) in 2004, Krejci has been a mainstay on the Bruins roster since 2008. Since that first year, he’s averaged 53.7 points per season, excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season. That comes out to 0.75 Points Per Game in the regular season. Not fantastic. Not terrible. Just…adequate.

Come playoff time, however, this mild-mannered center can have an immediate and quite dramatic impact on how the Bruins fare throughout the battle royal that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Basically, when Krejci is rolling, the Bruins are winning. When Krejci is off his game, the Bruins are getting bounced from the playoffs. Let’s look at some of the data.

(Editor’s note: All data was curated from All data comes from before this year’s playoffs began.)

Since Krejci came into the Bruins lineup regularly in 2008, the Bruins have played 17 playoff series. They’ve gone 10-7 in those series. In his playoff history, Krejci has 77 Points in 96 playoff games, for an average of 0.80 points per game, slightly higher than his career regular season average.

There were 10 series where Krejci averaged greater than 0.8 PPG; the Bruins have lost only 2 of those 10. One of those losses was the Flyers series in 2010, in which the Bruins had a commanding 3 games to none lead. Krejci got steamrolled by Mike Richards in Game 3 and was knocked out for the rest of the Series. You know what happened after that.

The other series they lost was the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago back in 2013; coincidentally, this was only Series out of those 10 where Krejci had a negative +/- rating.

In 10 out of 17 series, or 59% of the time, Krejci scores at a rate significantly higher than his regular season average of 0.75 PPG. He bumps up to 1.17 PPG for 10 playoff series. In 6 of those 10 series, he has scored at or above a 1.0 PPG pace.

On the other side of the coin, the Bruins have lost 7 series since 2008. In 5 of those 7 series losses (71.4%), Krejci has scored below his postseason average of 0.8 PPG.

To round out the playoff picture, the Bruins did manage to win 2 series when Krejci scored below the 0.8 PPG threshold. That includes the epic 2011 first-round, 7-game matchup against the Canadiens, and a first-round demolishing of the Red Wings in 2014 where they lost Game 1 by a score of 1-0 on a sneaky Pavel Datsyuk shot in the 3rd period. I was at that game. I remember that goal. Talk about making something out of nothing. That Datsyuk, what a player. But I digress.

To recap, the Bruins have won 10 out of 17 playoff series since 2008. 8 of those 10 wins came when Krejci scored 0.8 PPG or higher. 2 of the 10 wins came in spite of Krejci, where he scored 0.4 Points/Gm or less.

The Bruins have lost 7 playoff series since 2008. 5 of those 7 losses came when Krejci scored below 0.8 PPG. One of those losses came when Krejci got injured in Game 3 of the 2010 second-round series against the Flyers and was lost for the rest of the series.

As I said previously, when Krejci is rolling, the Bruins are winning. When Krejci is off his game, the Bruins are getting bounced from the Playoffs.

Consider these other stats about Krejci’s playoff performance:

  • 19 multi-point games across 17 playoff series, averaging over 1 multi-point game per series
  • Led the 2011 playoffs in points with 12-11-23 in 25 games, beating out future Hall of Famers Henrik Sedin (#2 w/22 Points) and Martin St. Louis (#3 with 20 Points)
  • Led the 2013 playoffs in points with 9-17-26 in 23 games, beating out by a wide margin the 2013 Finals MVP, future Art Ross Trophy winner, and future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane (#2 w/19 Points)
  • 2 hat tricks – 2011 against Tampa, 2013 against Toronto. Before the playoffs started in 2018, Krejci had the same number of playoff hat tricks as Sidney Crosby

There’s the good, and then there’s the bad. If you average out his top 4 playoff series performances in terms of PPG, Krejci comes out with a 1.59 rating. Average his worst 4 playoff performances, and he’s got a 0.17 PPG mark.

This is all to say that Krejci has a bit of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going on. When he’s on, Krejci is killing it, can score with the best of them and the Bruins tend to win. When he is off, he can be downright terrible and the Bruins historically have an early exit.

I honestly can’t think of any other skater whose personal triumphs and struggles in the playoffs match up so well with their respective team’s results. This isn’t necessarily to say that Krejci is the one deciding factor on whether or not the Bruins will win a series, but the data does point towards this relationship being a good barometer.

The obvious question to ask following this analysis: Which David Krejci will we get this playoff season?

Will we get the scoring machine who can single-handedly win games and keep the Bruins competitive in a series, or will we see the ghost of David Krejci, similar to his performance in 2014 against Montreal where he had a meager two assists in seven games?

Numbers don’t lie. History does not lie.

Here’s to hoping that David Krejci is a bit of a history buff.