Bruins get spark from Krug’s big hit: ‘That gave me some goosebumps’

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BOSTON — Torey Krug was happy with two things Monday night. 

The first was that the Boston Bruins won Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final 4-2 over the St. Louis Blues. The second was that he was glad he recently got a haircut because midway through the third period he got to show it off much to the delight TD Garden crowd.

After Krug was involved in what David Backes described as a game of Twister with Blues forward David Perron in front of the Bruins’ net, Krug lost his helmet during the battle while the play was in the other end. No penalties were called and when Krug was finally free, instead of making a line change he charged into the other zone and laid a huge hit on Robert Thomas.

The hit came with the Bruins up 3-2 and dominating play after St. Louis took a 2-0 lead in the second period. It was a play that riled up an already amped Garden crowd and resonated with Krug’s teammates.

“That gave me some goosebumps,” said Backes. “He thinks he’s playing 30, 40 years ago. That was an exchange that was Torey Krug establishing himself in this series. From my perspective that was a big boost.”

“You don’t want to mess with that guy,” said Connor Clifton, who scored the Bruins first goal. “Don’t make that guy mad.”

“He’s a type of guy who never gives up,” said Tuukka Rask. “I saw him battle in front of the net. I just wanted to tell him to get out of there, join the rush. He had no helmet on so he wanted to make sure he made the highlights.”

Said David Pastrnak: “He just got a haircut a couple of days ago, so he was looking pretty good.”

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The 5-foot-9 Krug said that he saw an opportunity to be a second wave of attack as he sped toward the St. Louis zone. A good pass would have caught him streaking in for a scoring chance, but the puck ended up along the boards and as Thomas tried to slap it out of the zone, Krug was there to deliver the hit. Thomas did not play another shift for the remainder of the game.

“It’s part of a game,” said Krug afterward. “Momentum swings, it gives your team a boost of energy. I don’t know what they were feeling on their bench, but if it pushes them back and catches them off-guard, then great for our team. But I think it gave our team energy and that’s all you’re trying to do out there is make little plays throughout the game that pushes your team in the right direction and that was one of them.”

Game 1 quickly developed into a physical affair. There was plenty of bad blood created early, and while some might expect hate between two teams from opposite conferences to take time to build, there was no waiting around for that, and for good reason.

“When everything’s on the line like that, it’s going to come to the surface a lot quicker,” said Krug. “So this is a team that we don’t see too often. That rivalry factor’s not there. But I’m sure by the end of the series it’ll be something to talk about for a long time.”

Blues-Bruins Game 2 is Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET from TD Garden on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.