You’d be hard pressed to find a better duo in the NHL than Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and winger Brad Marchand.
Sure, they don’t score the most goals or points of any tandem, but when you factor in their offensive production combined with phenomenal puck-possession numbers, excellent defense and elite penalty killing, it’s easy to see why opposing coaches fear them.
Bergeron and Marchand are inseparable on the B’s — they played more than 943 even-strength minutes together last season — and Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock has them on the same line for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey tournament at 5-on-5 and the penalty kill.
A close-up view of Bergeron and Marchand in practice and games is giving their teammates a good look into what makes this tandem so successful in all three zones.
“(Marchand is) out there getting under guys’ skin, but he can make plays,” Canada teammate and Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews recently told NHL.com’s Arpon Basu. “I played with him at the World Juniors a long time ago and I always knew he had the skill, the offense, but I didn’t know how smart he was, just positionally as well. I can see why he and (Bergeron) play so well together.”
Toews should know how well this tandem plays. He had to go up against Bergeron for most of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, and the Bruins center shut him down for most of the series until intense injuries limited his effectiveness over the last two games.
Bergeron and Marchand controlled puck possession at a very high rate in 2015-16, posting a 56.61 Corsi-For percentage when on the ice together. They also ranked first and fourth, respectively, in scoring among Bruins players last season, while also being the team’s top-two goals scorers. This duo also gave up just 13 goals in 126:33 (or more than two full games) of short-handed ice time together.
Team Canada, and the Bruins as well, need Bergeron and Marchand to continue their stellar production together to achieve their respective goals. For Team Canada, it’s winning a gold medal at the World Cup, and for the Bruins, it’s returning to the Stanley Cup playoffs after a two-year absence.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images