Bruins’ Top Line of Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Milan Lucic Continues to Be Team’s Bread and Butter


Bruins' Top Line of Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Milan Lucic Continues to Be Team's Bread and ButterBOSTON — When the Bruins fell behind 1-0 to the Jets on Tuesday night at TD Garden, it was the Bruins' top line that answered back to tie the score.

When the B's fell behind 3-2 and entered the third period down a goal to a Winnipeg team that had been 16-0-1 when leading after two periods this year, it was again Boston's first line that got the ball rolling.

David Krejci won back the final period's opening draw. After defenseman Zdeno Chara shuffled the puck ahead to Milan Lucic along the boards, the winger chipped it into the zone. Krejci then gathered the loose biscuit and took it up along the left wing before delivering a nifty, spin-around, no-look feed to a closing Nathan Horton, who buried it to tie the game at 3.

The Bruins would never look back, gaining complete control of the third period en route to a 5-3 victory over the Jets.

That line of Lucic, Krejci and Horton has been making plays ever since the trio came together last season. They were responsible for some big-time goals during the team's Stanley Cup run, and as we near the halfway point of this season — with the B's still very much the cream of the NHL's crop — it's evident that line could pay big dividends down the stretch and beyond again this season.

Despite any parts that head coach Claude Julien has been forced to move around, that line continues to be the team's bread and butter. And now with Brad Marchand sitting out because of a five-game suspension, there's perhaps a bit more of a burden placed on that line, although no one in the Bruins locker room would likely admit to such.

"Well obviously without Brad, we're missing a pretty big piece of our puzzle," Horton said. "We've got four more games without him and obviously we want him on the ice, and we can't have him right now. But different guys step up, and we've got a lot of depth in our organization. We've got a lot of great players."

Horton's right. It is that depth — the ability to roll out four impactful lines — that gives the B's an advantage over their top-heavy foes, particularly those teams that feature nothing more than one or two solid lines. And it's that depth that also makes the Bruins a popular choice for the title of NHL's best team.

But there's something to be said for that "top" line. There's something about the playmaking ability of Krejci, the clutch goal-scoring of Horton and the tenacity of Lucic that makes it one of the NHL's more unique — and thus effective — lines.

Horton notched two goals on Tuesday night, marking the fifth time he's found the back of the net in the past four games. Krejci and Lucic, meanwhile, each garnered two assists, with Krejci's helpers extending his point streak to nine games.

That's an impressive run by the Bruins' No. 1 line, but it isn't all that surprising to those who suit up with the trio on a nightly basis.

"They've been playing awesome," said Benoit Pouliot, who moved up to Marchand's spot on the second line Tuesday night and added a goal of his own. "It's one of our big lines and to see that kind of stuff, and that's they're doing lately, it's fun to watch. They got us the momentum back in the third."

That momentum proved to be crucial, as the Bruins looked flat for two periods, before eventually throwing a stranglehold on the tilt in the final frame.

"So far it's clicking. My line and me are trying to keep our feet moving," Krejci said. "Every time we get a puck, we are crashing the net, and making the most of our chances and the puck has been going in the net for us. Hopefully we will keep doing the good things and scoring goals."

Good things? Stop being so modest, Mr. Krejci.

With a Stanley Cup ring and another impressive streak ongoing for the trio, we're entering into the territory of "great" things. Then again, that humbleness can be summed up exactly how Julien summed up Krejci's play of late.

"Just David being David."

As for Boston rebounding after a devastating loss to the hated Canucks on Saturday for a come-from-behind victory on Tuesday?

Just the Bruins being the Bruins.

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