The Bruins’ first line came up big during Saturday afternoon’s matchup against the New Jersey Devils, and head coach Bruce Cassidy loved to see the success generated from the group.
After the kick-start of momentum for the B’s coming from left wing Erik Haula, who scored late in the first period, the first line ignited with a power play goal scored by Brad Marchand and assisted by Patrice Bergeron to give them a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins have had trouble holding onto leads and the top line wasn’t going to let that happen this time around. The Devils responded quickly to Marchand’s first goal in the second to cut Boston’s lead to 2-1. However, a quick rebuttal from Marchand and an assist from David Pastrnak solidified another goal, giving Boston some insurance.
“I don’t know if luxury is the word, but it’s certainly nice to know that line will go out — Bergy and March both on the penalty kill, they all play in the power play — so they can play in any situation,” Cassidy said during a postgame conference. “They play 4-on-4, they play in overtime. So, their line is used to playing in key moments against key players, understanding all that. So that’s a bonus — but a lot of good first lines do that.”
Marchand scored twice, Bergeron finished the win with a goal and an assist and Pastrnak recorded two assists.
Cassidy praising the skillset of the group, but in addition to what they do on the ice, it’s the leadership that Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak bring to the locker room that makes them stand out.
“The better part of it is you got most your leadership group on that line as well,” Cassidy said. “So they know how to settle guys down at the bench, get the game turned right back around in your favor.”
“And then you know, lead on the bench, encourage the next line, okay, let’s make sure we follow it up. So there’s always that chatter going on. And then the last part that people are aware of now that aren’t there every day is their work ethic in practice. So they do everything right in terms of leading, playing, producing, working and practice. So for me that’s not the case with every top line and that’s why we’re very fortunate to have those guys as as people and leading.”
Cassidy is fortunate to have offensive powerhouses in his starting lines but also players with leadership tendencies that he doesn’t have to encourage or teach — they just are intuitively there.
The Bruins will welcome the Montreal Canadiens to TD Garden on Sunday night for another puck drop and hope for the top line to do their job.