David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand strike fear into the rest of the NHL.
ProHockeyTalk’s Adam Gretz on Monday ranked the Boston Bruins’ first-line right wing and left wing second on his list of the “most dangerous duos” in the NHL, behind only the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
“These two (Pastrnak and Marchand) are so good that they have made Patrice Bergeron (still one of the best players in the league) arguably the third best player on his own line,” Gretz wrote.
“While Bergeron does drive a lot of the defensive play and plays the shutdown role to near perfection at center, the Pastrnak-Marchand duo on the wings is behind the offense. So much so that Pastrnak and Marchand have scored goals at a higher rate the past three years when they are playing without Bergeron than they do with him.”
Gretz then offers statistical proof of Pastrnak’s and Marchand’s effectiveness without Bergeron.
Goals per 60 minutes since start of 2017-18 season:
Pastrnak, Marchand, and Bergeron together: 3.64
Pastrnak and Marchand without Bergeron: 3.89
Marchand and Bergeron without Pastrnak: 3.49
Pastrnak and Bergeron without Marchand: 2.75
“That is not to say the team would be better off without Bergeron centering the line, it is just a testament to how good Pastrnak and Marchand are offensively,” Gretz concludes.
Pastrnak currently leads the NHL in goals this season with 19, while Marchand is tied for sixth with 13. Marchand’s 35 points currently are tied for the third most while Pastrnak is fifth with 34.
A lower-body injury has sidelined Bergeron for the Bruins’ past two games, but they’ve managed to cope without the veteran center, as Pastrnak has scored three goals and Marchand has added three assists combined in Boston’s shootout loss to the Washington Capitals and win over the New Jersey Devils.
Bergeron is expected to return Thursday night when the Bruins host the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden, and that news won’t offer the rest of NHL any relief.