BOSTON– So many line combinations have been thrown around the Bruins organization this season. You have the first line consisting of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton. You have the Merlot line (formerly known as the energy line) with Brad Marchand, Shawn Thornton and Greg Campbell.
But perhaps the most unknown of the lines, has some of the most well known names–Blake Wheeler, Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron. This line has been lost among the production of everyone else that has kept the Bruins going all season.
But with Saturday night’s 3-2 win over the Capitals, a new sort of life has been infused into a seemingly barren group.
In a game that would end the losing streaks of either Boston or Washington, both teams knew the game could create a much needed momentum boost heading into the last couple of games before Christmas. Luckily for the Bruins, Bergeron, Recchi and Wheeler were listening.
The Bruins got off to a solid start just 3:27 into the first period, when Bergeron found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season, courtesy of Wheeler and Adam McQuaid. That was the start to two more consecutive goals for the Black and Gold, one from Andrew Ference (his first goal in 99 games) and the second from Wheeler, trading scoring duties with Bergeron putting Boston at a 3-0 advantage in the first period. Combine those two with Recchi’s play, and Wheeler says the line really creates opportunities.
“Rex [Mark Recchi] is so great at what he does,” Wheeler said. “Even on my goal, that defenseman wasn’t able to cut off that lane because Rex was right in front of the net taking him away, so he’s just as important as anyone. He’s great to play with an obviously, anytime you create a turnover, Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] always seems to be the first guy on it, so it’s a lot of fun to have that because you feel like if you’re working hard and hitting and creating turnovers, then those two guys are going to be all over it too and that’s where you start to get some chemistry and some results.”
The most noticeable improvement on this line was in the forecheck and aggressive play from the forwards. Very rarely did you see them wait and stay back in the neutral zone for Washington to make a play. They were “in your face” aggressive, and that provided them with the opportunities to make plays and be effective.
“Moving our feet was a big key, especially against Washington that’s so fast,” Bergeron said. “They’re good on the breakout and obviously they’re great players and if you put pressure on them sometimes, you know, they’re going to cough up the puck.”
Both Bergeron and Wheeler’s two points provided the team with an important two points of its own, stopping the slippery three-game winless skid the Bruins found themselves on earlier this week.
After losing to the Sabres, Flyers and Canadiens this past week, this win, though it wasn’t the complete game the Bruins were hoping for, did help in providing a foot hold for the team to try and build from.
“We got two points,” Bergeron said. “Yes, they came hard. We were a little bit on our heels, but you know, we found a win and that’s all that matters. We got those two points.”