BOSTON — The Bruins’ first line struggled mightily through the team’s first two games out of the Olympic break. Since then, however, they’ve been bordering on unstoppable.
Boston’s top trio was simply dominant Tuesday night, as they and the B’s took care of a hapless Florida Panthers team that had no business being on the same ice. Members of the Boston first line combined to score all four goals in a 4-1 win over Florida at TD Garden.
The star of the night was center David Krejci, who recorded his third career hat trick. The forward scored in all three periods to record the hat trick. Krejci’s three-point night added to what’s now a team-leading 55 points. In fact, that line now sits 1-2-3 on the Bruins in scoring with Iginla and Lucic occupying the second and third spots, respectively.
Iginla now has six goals and 13 assist in his last 12 games, while Lucic has 6-8-14 totals in his last 12 as well.
The impressive performance is even more encouraging given how that line came out of the break. All three players were a minus-3 in the first game back in Buffalo, and they combined for just six shots on goal in a loss to Washington on March 1. They bounced back, however, against the Rangers on Sunday with a couple of goals and built on that in the win over the Panthers.
“In those first few games we were working on getting that sharpness and that intensity back up,” Iginla said. “Against the Rangers, it was a lot better. We’re still working on tightening it up a little bit. It’s coming. We had it going pretty good before the break, and that stretch we want to get it back as quick as we can, and it feels like it’s coming.”
Krejci’s big night should do something to help quiet the notion that he might be ready for one of his in-season swoons. The first-line center has been remarkably consistent all season long. That hasn’t always been the case, as he’s been known to go some pretty sustained droughts. His hat trick — his first of the regular-season variety since March 1, 2012 against the Devils — is just the latest achievement in one of his best seasons. He’s now on pace for north of 70 points, which means he could be poised to set a new career-high in points — assuming he keeps this up.
What Krejci and the rest of the Bruins are focusing on, however, comes at the other end of the ice. The idea is that if they shore up things on defense, everything else will continue to follow.
“Like I said, I still feel there’s some stuff we have to improve, especially on our defensive side,” Krejci said. “But on the other hand, the puck has been going in the net for us the last few games. We got to keep that going, but at the same just go out there and take care of our own end first and go from there.”
The obvious trend is that if the Bruins’ first line is playing well, so is the rest of the team. When they struggle, the entire team seems to follow suit. If the last two games are any indication, the Bruins might be poised for another hot streak.