Bruins’ First Line On A Roll, Playing as One of NHL’s Top Units

Bruins first line
The New England weather is bitter and cold right now, an absolutely perfect contrast for the Boston Bruins’ top line, which is anything but.

You’d be hard-pressed to find another unit playing better than the Atlantic Division leaders’ No. 1 line, which stayed hot Thursday night with another impressive outing in the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win over the Nashville Predators.

David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla have been good all season, but they’ve just recently started to really turn it on. They’re producing scoring chances about every time they step on the ice, as they did against the Predators when all three chipped in on Iginla’s game-tying goal in the third period.

That goal was a thing of beauty and came when the Bruins needed it most. The score was tied at 1 late in the third period when Krejci made a strong defensive play, stepping up and disrupting a Nashville attempt to move the puck through the neutral zone. Lucic came back on the play to grab the puck that Krejci had jarred loose and started back up the ice. Lucic barreled down the left wing as Iginla sprinted toward the net. Just as Iginla pulled up at the goal mouth, Lucic put a perfect pass on Iginla’s stick, and the future Hall of Famer easily jammed the puck into the back of the net.

“It all starts with [Krejci] turning the puck over there, and I just saw a 2-on-2 happen and Iggy does a great job of getting position around the defenseman there and was able to present his stick, and I just tried to put it on there and it ended up working and it ended up being a big goal,” Lucic told reporters after the game.

The goal continued what’s becoming a very impressive streak. Iginla, Lucic and Krejci all extended point streaks to six games, easily their most dominating portion of the season.

All three have had encouraging signs in their own way. Krejci, whose regular-season play has seen fits of inconsistency take over in the past, is having one of his strongest campaigns thus far, with a point in 28 of 41 games. Lucic has bounced back after a dreadful 2013 regular season. He’s in terrific shape and playing arguably the best all-around hockey of his career. Iginla had a slow start to the season, but he now has eight goals in his last 11 games.

Even on a night like Thursday, when Boston’s first line might not have been getting the majority of chances, they’re able to elevate their game. That’s what they did in the third period, which opened with the Bruins trailing 1-0. If the Bruins weren’t able to come back and win the game, they would’ve been saddled with their first three-game losing streak of the season. The fact that those three losses would have come against the lowly Predators, New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators made it even more important for Boston to come back and get the two points.

“We talked about it,” Lucic added. “We take pride in saying that good teams don’t lose two in a row. It’s only the second time this year where we had lost two in a row, and we talked about turning it around and having an opportunity to do it here with the first game of 2014 and we can start the year off right. It was good to get that win and kind of build some momentum into Saturday, our last game before we head out west again so we wanted to build toward that.”

The Bruins’ top line, which has been that and more this season, certainly is building momentum of its own.

Photo via Twitter/@NHLBruins