Boston Bruins' 5 Most Influential Players So Far in 2013-14
The Boston Bruins are a quarter of the way through the 2013-14 season. They're at the top of their division and are looking the way fans have grown accustomed to seeing over the past several seasons.
The players who have gotten the B's to this point are a combination of both familiar faces and new ones. There are some usual suspects influencing this roster, starting with the man between the pipes.
But others have stepped up too.
Here are the five most influential Boston Bruins so far this season.
5. Torey Krug
The rookie defenseman has continued his success from last year.
Krug has become a regular on the Bruins' power play and has provided Boston with another shot from the point that has proved difficult for goalies to stop. According to NHL.com, Krug has three power-play goals this season, which is tied for the team-lead with captain Zdeno Chara.
His emergence with the extra man has allowed Boston to plant Chara in front of the net for a screen, which has increased the effectiveness of the B's power play from last season.
Krug has 12 points, which is tied for third on the team. His influence on Boston is obvious this year, and fans should hope that continues for the rest of the season.
4. Milan Lucic
The big man has been the high-scoring tough guy Bruins fans want to see every night.
Lucic leads the team with nine goals and is tied for the team lead in points with 16, according to NHL.com. He is also tied for the team lead with a plus-11.
Lucic and linemate David Krejci have kept Boston's first line at the top of the league, even after replacing Nathan Horton with Jarome Iginla.
No. 17 has also been consistent this season. His longest goalless streak has been three games (twice). He hasn't slumped at all and has been a constant on the scoresheet.
3. Reilly Smith
A surprising influence this season on the Bruins has been forward Reilly Smith. Smith, who came over from Dallas in the Tyler Seguin trade, wasn't even a lock to make the team during training camp.
Smith has 13 points this season, which is only behind Krejci and Lucic for the team lead. While Smith is only a plus-four, he has been a solid winger for Claude Julien. Smith has 10 assists, which is second on the squad behind Krejci.
Smith has suited up for Boston in every game this season. If he keeps playing like he has been, that will continue.
2. David Krejci
The first-line center has been the best offensive player again for the Bruins. With three goals and 13 assists, Krejci leads the team in helpers and is tied for the team lead in points with his linemate Lucic.
Before his current four-game scoreless streak, Krejci had gone all season without going pointless in two straight games, according to NHL.com.
A regular on the power play, Krejci is the best playmaker on the team, and he hasn't skipped a beat even with new linemate Jarome Iginla. Iginla has 12 points this season, and part of that is Krejci's seamless integration of Iggy onto Boston's top unit.
1. Tuukka Rask
Tuukka Rask has been the most influential Bruin this season by far.
In 18 games played, Rask is 12-5-1. He is third in the league with a 1.61 goals-against average and second in the league with a .946 save percentage, according to ESPN. He also has two shutouts.
Rask has won five of his past six starts and has allowed one goal or fewer in five of them.
Great goaltending can always get a team far in hockey. If Rask keeps up his play, there's no reason why the Bruins won't go far again this season.
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