Even more impactful than the acquisition of Jaromir Jagr was the loss of Patrice Bergeron for the Boston Bruins. Arguably the most complete player in the National Hockey League, Bergeron’s end-to-end presence and veteran leadership simply cannot be replaced. Centering the Bruins most productive line for the past two seasons, Bergeron has not only excelled himself, but he’s helped youngsters Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand improve drastically both offensively and defensively.
With Bergeron out for the foreseeable future, the Bruins looked to Seguin to fill the void at center. Seguin, who was drafted as a centermen, was the logical choice considering Jagr would join the team’s second line along with him and Marchand.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, the experiment failed, as both Seguin and his linemates looked lost defensively in games against the Devils and Canadiens, spending most of their time in the Bruins’ zone rather than bringing that crucial offensive fire.
With only 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Bruins know they must fine their scoring touch immediately in order to go on any extended playoff run. Coach Claude Julien forced the issue on Monday when he made major line changes before a tilt with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Seguin was dropped to the third line where he’d join Chris Kelly, who was playing his first game since breaking his leg in early March; Greg Campbell moved up to the second line and centered Marchand and Jagr. These moves stressed the importance of winning faceoffs, as the Bruins, a team who usually leads the league in this category, had lost far too many draws since the loss of Bergeron.
As a result of Julien’s moves, Rich Peverley skated with Jordan Caron and Shawn Thornton on the Bruins new fourth line. The results were good early, as Peverley scored the game’s first goal just 3:51 into the first period. Ference made a terrific pass in the neutral zone to spring Peverley, who jumped on his own rebound from behind the Carolina net and beat Justin Peters.
Wouldn’t you know it, but work in the “dirty areas” paid off once again, as Marchand scored the Bruins second goal of the game. Jagr and Campbell cycled the puck, while Marchand drove to the net and jumped on a rebound for the goal; Peters was pulled just halfway through the first period.
The Bruins added two more goals in the second period, both a result of the cliché yet necessary net-drive by Boston forwards. A theme since beginning of their recent success, the Bruins play best when a full effort is put forward- one consisting of skating, physicality, and a net-front presence to produce those “dirty area” goals. Tonight’s game only further enforced the importance of that black and gold style, something the Bruins must do consistently to build momentum going into the playoffs.
In an offensive outburst, the Bruins ultimately defeated the Hurricanes 6-2 at TD Garden on Monday.
The little things proved big in a victory that saw the Bruins get back to basics in the offensive zone, gutting out chances and capitalizing multiple times. The Jagr, Campbell, Marchand line played particularly well, but coach Julien was pleased the team’s overall play:
“Like I said, the scoring was spread out, but who would’ve thought that [Rich] Peverley, [Jordan] Caron and [Shawn] Thornton would’ve had two goals, I think it was two goals, it was nice to see that line produce as well. But there was some good chemistry there between those guys. We need that. For us, it was carrying the momentum from line-to-line offensively, and that happened tonight.
Julien also touched up on the playmaking ability of his newest addition in Jagr, who’s offensive awareness was very much present on the ice Monday: “Well there’s no doubt he creates a lot offensively. He’s one of those guys that finds the passing lanes, even on the power play he made a couple of passes to David Krejci and those passes are through so that the guy can shoot the puck but he decided he wasn’t.”
It was great to see the line changes produce and offense take shape in a much-needed decisive victory over the Hurricanes; however, giving up 40 shots a game still wont cut it.
The Bruins have plenty of work to do in their own end and must right that ship before the new season starts soon- ya know, the one for all the marbles? Playoff hockey is right around the corner, and the time is now for the Bruins to go on a run.
FROM THE ROOM:
Looking for hot seats? Click here for the absolute BEST deals on Bruins tickets!