Boston — Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said after the morning skate Saturday his family and friends were likely going to forego the Tigers game to watch him play against the Red Wings.
“Maybe switch channels,” said Krug, a Livonia native who attended Livonia Churchill and Michigan State, and is starring on the Bruins’ blue line.
Krug, 22, was named the game’s first star, and it was difficult to argue, after he scored a power-play goal and had an assist in the Bruins’ 4-1 victory over the Red Wings.
The goal was actually Krug’s first regular-season goal. He scored four after joining the Bruins in the playoffs last season after injuries hit the Boston defense.
Considered too small (5-foot-9, 180 pounds) to be an effective NHL defenseman Krug, who skated for Belle Tire and Honeybaked as a youth player, is firmly smashing those predictions.
“Just the fact the opportunity presented itself was pretty special,” said Krug on the way he capitalized on his chance in the playoffs. “Things might not have happened if they (the Bruins) had lost to Toronto (in the first round of the playoffs), but the opportunity presented itself and the coaching staff showed confidence in me.”
Krug’s ability to get the puck on net has ignited the Bruins’ power play.
“It’s great, he’s creating a lot just by his size and the way he retrieves the puck, finding that loose puck,” Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said. “That’s what keeps the play going.”
Krug’s family and friends were as excited as he was when NHL realignment was announced and the Bruins and Red Wings became division rivals.
“I got a few texts saying they were going to see more quite a bit more,” Krug said. “It’s going to be cool playing in that building.”
Forward Tomas Tatar made his regular-season debut Saturday, playing 9 minutes, 8 seconds on 16 shifts in the loss to the Bruins.
With Tatar in the lineup, Mikael Samuelsson was a healthy scratch.
“I’ve been waiting for a chance. Coach said to be ready,” said Tatar, who scored four goals in 18 games with the Red Wings last season and then starred during Grand Rapids’ run to the Calder Cup championship.
Coach Mike Babcock has always liked Tatar’s instincts offensively and his willingness to go into tough areas.
“He likes the puck, and he’s not scared of it, he goes gets it,” Babcock said. “He can score from in tight. He’s a kid going in the right direction and he brings enthusiasm.
“Obviously he has to do it every game in the NHL.”
Bruins dominate on special teams
The Red Wings clearly lost the special teams battle against the Bruins.
Boston scored two power-play goals (on four attempts) while killing both Red Wings power-play chances.
The Red Wings are 0-for-8 on the power play this season through three games.
“It wasn’t good tonight,” said Babcock of the power play. “They were better on the penalty kill and the power play than us. They were harder on it. They were more efficient. They won way more battles than we did.
“It looked like their energy level was high and it looked like ours wasn’t.”