BOSTON — The Bruins are fortunate to have the best line in the NHL, and it was the leading factor in their 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators in the home opener Monday afternoon at TD Garden.
Patrice Bergeron (three goals, one assist), Brad Marchand (three assists) and David Pastrnak (two goals, two assists) led the way for a B’s offense that’s scored 10 goals over the last two games.
“I’ve been impressed with everything Bergy does to be honest with you,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He plays at both ends. We use him in every situation, so good for him to get us going on time (Monday). Usually we rely on him to give us a good start, may take away from, if we’re looking at certain matchups, but we like to start them simply because they generally get the puck and get going on the other end, put them on their heels.”
These three stars led the Bruins in scoring last season, and it’s shaping up like that again through three games this year. Here’s a look at the line’s incredible scoring totals to begin the 2018-19 campaign.
1. Brad Marchand: seven points (seven assists)
2. Patrice Bergeron: six points (four goals, two assists)
3. David Pastrnak: five points (three goals, two assists)
This line has scored or assisted on nine of the Bruins’ 10 goals this season, and while this kind of production is fantastic, it also could suggest that Boston is too top heavy and that breaking up this trio might benefit the team’s overall scoring depth.
It’s a situation Cassidy must weigh as the season progresses.
“You can look at it both ways,” Cassidy said. “Again, we’re top heavy, right? And that’s where the conversation started last year, that we relied on one line. We know we can always (break up the line). We haven’t yet, and we may never. We’ll see down the road. A game like this, you can say both sides of the argument. Hey, they’re too good to break up, yet we rely on them too much, maybe (Monday). We need more balance from lines two and three. Right now, we’re going to leave it as it is.”
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Senators:
— Bruins fans didn’t have to wait long to celebrate a goal at TD Garden, thanks to Bergeron.
— Bergeron’s hat trick is the fourth by a Bruin in a home opener during the post-1967 expansion era. Here’s the complete list:
— Here’s another good stat on the Bruins’ top line.
— Bruins winger Chris Wagner scored his first goal with the Black and Gold in the second period. The Walpole, Mass., native also made his TD Garden debut Monday.
— The fourth line didn’t score a goal in the first two games, but Wagner got the trio on the board with his tally. Overall, Boston’s fourth line played much better Monday. Noel Acciari did well on the penalty kill and even created a shorthanded breakaway scoring chance. He also brought a physical edge to the game that his teammates fed off of. Sean Kuraly earned an assist on Wagner’s goal, too. Don’t be surprised to see this trio on the fourth line for the next stretch of games.
— Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy has four assists in three games, including a career-high three helpers Monday. McAvoy’s playmaking has been an important part of Boston’s early success with Torey Krug — who led B’s defensemen in assists last season — sidelined for the first three weeks of the campaign with an ankle injury.
— Special teams played a crucial part in the Bruins’ win. They went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, including a 5-on-3 kill of 1:16 during the third period. The Bruins also went 1-for-2 on the power play. Bergeron’s second-period PPG was Boston’s second in as many games.
— Brady Tkachuk made his NHL debut for the Senators on Monday after missing the team’s first two games with a groin injury. He was the No. 4 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft after spending one season at Boston University, where he tallied 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists) during the 2017-18 campaign. Tkachuk’s dad, Keith, played many seasons in the NHL and his brother Matthew currently plays for the Calgary Flames.
— It’s an exciting time to be a sports fan in Boston with the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins all in action. We can include Cassidy among those amped up.
“I’m excited to see the Celtics play, I was at a game in the (conference) finals last year against Cleveland and they’re a fun group to watch,” Cassidy said. “Obviously, all four teams have aspirations of winning — we just started, the Patriots just started — but the Red Sox are there and the Celtics are right around the corner. I think it’s great to be (a New England sports fan). Let’s face it, when you have four teams that are in the mix — it’d suck to be like Cleveland. … I think we’re spoiled here.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images