To say that the Boston Bruins’ second line is rolling right now would be a gross understatement.
The line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith combined for three goals and six assists in the Bruins’ 6-3 win over the New York Islanders on Monday night. The three have become arguably the most dangerous line in hockey recently, posing a serious scoring threat each and every time they step on the ice.
After a bumpy start to the season and some line juggling, the three have certainly found their chemistry playing alongside one another. With each game that passes, the second line seems to improve, gain confidence and build on its comfort level, which is wonderful news for the Bruins and horrible news for their opponents.
“They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Claude Julien told NESN’s Jamie Erdahl after the game. “They’re finding each other real well, they’re moving their feet, and they’re hard to defend against. They find each other, they shoot the puck, and they’re going to the net. It’s making a big difference right now.”
The difference they’re making is showing up prominently on the scoresheet. Smith, Marchand and Bergeron are all riding six-game point streaks, and the trio has combined for 30 points during that stretch. Marchand has recorded seven goals in the past six games, and he and Smith are tied for the team lead in goals with 17 apiece.
Marchand’s hot play has led the Bruins winger to play with his trademark swagger and style once again. Marchand is at his best when he plays with a little bit of an edge, and after playing some of the best hockey of his career this January, it’s safe to say that his edge is back. The monkey on his back that haunted him throughout the beginning of the season is gone, and now, Marchand is producing at an unbelievable rate, his confidence is rising, and the entire second line is benefiting from his rejuvenated play.
“Confidence is one of the biggest things,” Smith told reporters after the game. “Bergeron and Marchand are doing great things with the puck right now, so I’m just trying to give it to them. It seems like chemistry is high right now. Even if we have our backs to the play, it seems like we know where each other are.”
Monday night, their chemistry translated into Marchand recording one goal with three assists, Bergeron scoring one goal with two assists and Smith adding one of each against an Islanders team that had beat the Bruins twice already this season.
In fact, the only thing that might be at a higher level than the second line’s chemistry right now is Smith’s modesty.