Another series, another opponent trying to figure out how to slow down the NHL’s top line.
The Boston Bruins’ first line of David Pastrnak-Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand has been absolutely electric in the Stanley Cup playoffs so far, scoring 30 points in the B’s seven-game, first-round series over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And they were right back at it again Saturday in Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.
Pastrnak (four assists), Bergeron (two goals, one assist), Marchand (one goal, three assists) tallied 11 points in the B’s 6-2 Game 1 throttling of the Lightning, moving their total points to 41 during the Bruins’ eight playoff games.
Boston now is 5-3 in the playoffs, and their success is directly correlated to the play of the top line. In the Bruins’ five wins so far this postseason, the top line has tallied 41 points and is a plus-34, while they did not register a point in the three losses to the Leafs and were a minus-16.
The top line’s potency was on full display in the third period of Game 1. Boston entered the period leading 3-2, but when the top line gets going, it’s hard to stop.
First, Marchand tipped home a rocket from Charlie McAvoy to give the B’s a 4-2 lead. It was his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Seven minutes later, Marchand wheeled into the offensive zone before dropping the puck to Bergeron. The center ripped a one-timer past Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy to make it 5-2 and put Game 1 in the win column for the Black and Gold.
Boston’s top line thoroughly dominated its counterparts, with Tampa’s top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and J.T. Miller combining for zero points and a minus-four rating.
Here are more notes from Bruins-Lightning Game 1:
— Pastrnak now has 17 points in eight playoff games. That is the second most in franchise history behind Rick Middleton who tallied 19 points in eight games in 1983.
— Rick Nash potted two goals in Game 1. He now has five goals and four assists in nine career playoff games against the Lightning.
— Tuukka Rask stopped 34 of the 36 shots that were sent his way in Game 1. One of the goals came when Rask’s skate blade was knocked off. The B’s netminder tried to get the attention of the referee, but play wasn’t stopped and Mikhail Sergachev slapped one past Rask. The 31-year-old goaltender was so furious after the goal that he chucked his broken blade across the ice.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images