BOSTON (AP)Bruins forward David Krejci is getting a taste of his homeland right here in Boston.
The native of Czechia played in his 1,000th NHL game on Monday and assisted on three goals – all by countrymen Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak – to help the Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-0.
”He’s a legend back home,” Zacha said. ”Everyone knows who he is. And now, with the thousandth game here for one team, I think he became a legend here, too, which is nice.”
Pastrnak and Zacha scored two goals apiece and Jeremy Swayman earned his first shutout of the season to help the NHL-best Bruins win for the sixth time in seven games.
Bruins coach Jim Montgomery met Krejci’s parents after the game and told them they had raised a great hockey player and person. Inside the dressing room, their son was drenched with water in a celebration that left puddles around his locker.
”He is like my big brother,” Pastrnak said. ”I was idolizing him as a as a kid. I came into the league, young and learning from him every day. And now he is one of my closest friends. So I’m very happy for him.”
Krejci, who interrupted his 16-year Boston career by playing in Czechia last season, returned this year and became just the seventh Bruin to appear in 1,000 NHL games. Only Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Wayne Cashman did it while playing their entire NHL careers in Boston.
Montgomery at first said ”the only reason we’re an elite team in the league is because he came here,” then corrected himself to say it was ”a huge factor.”
”It gives us the opportunity to have great depth,” he said.
Pastrnak scored the first goal in the first period and added another during a 4-on-3 power play to start the third to help Boston improve to 21-1-3 at home this season.
Carter Hart stopped 14 shots before he was replaced midway through the second period by Samuel Ersson, who made nine saves the rest of the way. The Flyers lost for just the second time in nine games.
ON THE BOARD
Pastrnak opened the scoring five minutes in when he forced a turnover in the Philadelphia zone and headed for the crease, where he deflected a pass from Zacha into the net. With five minutes left in the period, Zacha put his entire body into a slapshot that made it 2-0 and knocked him from his skates.
Brad Marchand backhanded in a rebound four minutes into the second to give Boston a 3-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Zacha’s crossing pass was deflected into the net. Pastrnak made it 5-0 with a one-kneed, one-timer early in the third and then Matt Grzelcyk gave Boston a 6-0 lead with 12 minutes left.
Krejci received a standing ovation – and the traditional stick-taps from both teams – when the public address system announced after his first shift that he had played in his 1,000th NHL game.
Drafted by Boston in 2004, Krejci spent his first 15 years of his pro career with the Bruins before leaving last season to play in his native Czechia. He is the third player on the roster to reach the 1,000-game milestone, joining Bergeron and Nick Foligno.
The team said it would honor Krejci before the game against Ottawa on Feb. 20.
Flyers: Host Anaheim on Tuesday night.
Bruins: At Islanders on Wednesday.
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