BOSTON – When the Bruins have needed a big goal this season, more often than not, they've turned to the line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. On Monday night against the rival Canadiens, the B's found themselves in need of one of those goals.
Clinging to a one-goal lead halfway through the third period, Boston knew it needed an insurance goal to help put away a Montreal team that always gives it fits. And once again, it was that line that came up big when the Bruins needed it most, on a goal that more or less represented the line's effectiveness as a whole.
First, there was the strong defensive play that makes Bergeron one of the best two-way forwards in hockey. Then, it was Seguin's one-of-a-kind playmaking ability. Finally, it was Marchand using his craftiness around the goal to tie it all together. And in the end, the Bruins had their insurance goal at 14:14 of the third period, one they would need, as they'd hold on for a 3-2 win.
"We talked about it on the bench about how we needed that extra goal," Bergeron said. "It's a team that we've seen in the past; they're not stopping. You keep battling until the buzzer. We said it was going to be really important to get it, and we found a way to get that goal."
Bergeron took matters into his own hands, when an aggressive defensive play in the Montreal zone helped force a turnover. He stole the puck from Travis Moen, and from there, Seguin was able to pick up the puck at the blue line and saucer it over Chris Campoli's stick to Marchand, who finished things off.
"I just picked it up and waited for the defenseman to kind of put his stick in a position where I could get it over to Marchy and luckily he saw the poke check coming and made no mistake," Seguin said.
Marchand made no mistake. In fact, the eventual game-winner can be viewed as one of the team's prettier goals of the year, as the forward deposited a fantastic back-handed shot while falling to the ice. It was a highlight-reel goal for a team and a line that's made its mark off of grinding out a lot of dirty goals.
"I think sometimes people underestimate our team for the amount of skill we have, but, you know, we have a lot of guys who make great plays and every now and then we get a nice goal," Marchand said.
Marchand is actually starting to gain a reputation as a player who can score some pretty goals, especially when it comes to finishing around the net.
"He's really a pretty good player around the net. He has some patience when he needs it, and he scores some big goals that way," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.
The goal obviously gave the Bruins some much-needed breathing room, but it also made the night an overall success for a line that Bergeron said had some trouble getting going.
"Part of it was us not taking the body, not being first on the puck," Bergeron said. "We gave them too much time there and they created some offense and some play out of it. I thought our third period was much better and that's where we found our gear and we were executing and being first on the puck, that's how we got that turnover there for the goal."
It was a big goal that was made even bigger by the fact that the Bruins were once again playing shorthanded. After Zdeno Chara and Gregory Campbell have missed time with injuries in the past couple of weeks, this time it was the B's looking to make up for the absence of suspended forward Milan Lucic.
"When you're missing a big part of the puzzle like that, we all need to step up," Bergeron said. "I know I say that a lot when are missing a guy, but that's exactly what we need to do."
"Yeah, I think whenever you lose a guy like Looch for a game, everyone has to kind of pick up their intensity," Seguin added. "Any time you lose a top player everyone's got to rise up, not just one or two guys. We all got to step up and show our depth and it was definitely nice to get the win tonight."
The Bruins showed off their depth, but when they really needed a play, it was once again the Bergeron line stepping up when the team needed it most.
The Canadiens refused to go away, scoring a second goal late in the game to make things interesting. They then brought another furious rush at the Bruins in the final seconds. With the insurance goal in hand, Boston was left to frantically defend its net in the final moments.
Fittingly, it was Bergeron who sent the puck the length of the rink to seal yet another Bruins win.