The six-game road trip has done wonders for the Boston Bruins’ secondary scoring, and it was the case again during Thursday’s 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.
The top line of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jake DeBrusk did not combine for a point against the Knights as it was the second and third line, specifically, who provided the offense with a key boost.
Second-line winger David Pastrnak scored a pair of third-period goals, while third-line winger Craig Smith recorded a hat trick that included both of Boston’s first two tallies. Smith’s linemate Trent Frederic was as effective as he’s been all year on the offensive end, with Charlie Coyle sliding a slick feed to Smith for the Boston’s second goal. Frederic and Smith had a plus-three rating while Coyle and Marchand were plus-two.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy noted how the secondary scoring is coming along.
“Yeah, I think good teams need secondary support. We got, as you said, fourth line and the (defense) got involved in Anaheim even though we didn’t get points out of it, tonight Coyle’s line was excellent,” Cassidy said after the win, per a team-provided video. “And I thought (Erik) Haula’s line did some good things too. … Even (Brad Marchand) had a few looks so it was spread out a little more evenly, but you’re not going to lean on your fourth line every night to generate offense. But now our third line comes through, and if that can be a thing that you can get through some games where your top guys aren’t going or you don’t get on the power play much or generate on it, then you’re going to be dangerous, right?
“Because I think no matter what, we tend to be a team that keeps the puck out of our net a lot of times. So we don’t need necessarily this great amount of offense from them, but to pitch in is going to help us a lot. And it has. And that’s why our record is what it is, I think, this stretch of games because we’ve got different people involved.”
Boston started off its road trip with DeBrusk providing a key boost to the top line while, and as Cassidy expressed, it was Boston’s fourth line that was its best during their lone loss of the trip Tuesday night against the Ducks.
Here are more notes from Bruins-Golden Knights:
— Jeremy Swayman put together yet another impressive performance while stopping 34 of the 36 shots that came his way. The first goal by Vegas came on a breakaway bid by Jack Eichel with both a mistimed line change and defensive lapse having a hand in the tally.
Swayman now is unbeaten in the last seven games (6-0-1) with a .967 save percentage during that span.
— Frederic recorded three assists for the Bruins, being granted the helper on each of Boston’s first three goals of the contest. Frederic doubled his season assist total with the effort (he entered Thursday with three in 34 games) and scored one-third of his points this season (nine) against the Golden Knights.
“So today, even though he got three assists, he shot off the rush a couple times, which was great,” Cassidy said. “He made a play to (Smith) when they had a clean 3-on-2 for the first goal so his decision-making tonight coming into the zone, or once he had the puck on his stick in a dangerous situation, was better.”
— David Pastrnak netted a pair of goals on a team-high seven shots, and in doing so eclipsed the 30-goal mark yet again. Pastrnak now joins Cam Neely as the only two players in franchise history with five 30-goal seasons before turning 26 years old, according to Sportsnet Stats.
— The Bruins, who now are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, will finish their six-game road trip with their final game Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET with NESN’s pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.