USATSI_8394664_154158418_lowresThe Boston Bruins will have to make do without centre David Krejci for four to six weeks. He’s out with a partially torn MCL in his left knee, the team announced on Monday.

The injury came in the second period of Friday’s 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues as Krejci was checking Alexander Steen.

This is obviously not good news for the Bruins, who are looking to solidify and playoff run and are by no means assured of a spot. They’re currently three points up on the Florida Panthers and four up on the Flyers, which means they’ll have to slip up in order to fall out of favour. But without Krejci, such a slip up is possible.

The Bruins are 9-9-3 without the centre, who already sat this season thanks to previous injuries. In 38 games, Krejci has 26 points. Seven of those points came on the power play and he regularly logs about 18 minutes a game.

The real question is how Krejci’s loss will impact other players.

Milan Lucic is one such player. He’s certainly benefited from Krejci’s effectiveness. With the centre in the line-up, Lucic has averaged 2.70 goals-per-hour. Without him, Lucic averages 2.31.

“It’s a big loss when you lose a player of his calibre,” Lucic said on Saturday. “He’s been an important player for us for the last number of years. He’s definitely one of those guys that’s hard to replace. At the end of the day, you still have a job to do. You still have to do it well.”

“You lose a guy like Krejci and your team roster takes a step back, but our job right now is to make sure our game doesn’t take a step back,” said head coach Claude Julien. “We don’t have a choice here. I’m going to tell you the same thing that I keep telling you no matter what happens here: there are a lot of guys in that room that are good players, good warriors and guys that you rely on to turn things around.”

With Krejci on the injured reserve list, the Bruins will have some cash freed up to take on some sort of deal as the trade deadline approaches. This situation could make things urgent in Boston and could force general manager Peter Chiarelli’s hand. He’ll have to hold that wild card spot in order to get something out of what’s been a disappointing season for his club and that could mean making a deal.

While the Bruins did manage to snap a six game losing streak on Sunday without Krejci, that’s hardly an indication of how well things will go down the stretch. They can rely on guys like Ryan Spooner to fill in the gaps for a time, but consistency is key here and the young guns may not be up to the task just yet.

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