The Boston Bruins’ big line had been silent until Thursday night. Then they erupted. With a Stanley Cup Final berth on the line Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak accounted for all of Boston’s goals en route to a 4-0 victory in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Now whoever emerges from the Western Conference has to worry.
Boston’s top trio is easily the best line remaining these playoffs and is arguably the best line in the NHL.
But don’t believe me, let’s let some numbers do the talking. This playoffs Marchand, Pastrnak, and Bergeron have been on the ice as a unit for 126 minutes and 42 seconds in five on five situations. Over that time they have a CorsiFor% of 55.24, a ShotsFor% of 56.25 percent, have scored six goals, have only allowed two, and have had 63 scoring chances.
That doesn’t account for power play situations. And that’s with Pastrnak in a funk to start the playoffs.
When it counted most this line threw the hammer down. Their Game 4 numbers (per naturalstattrick) tell the story of the complete smothering they laid on the Hurricanes: a CorsiFor% of 70.59, 10 shots for, zero shots against, four goals, 13 offensive zone faceoffs, and just three defensive zone faceoffs.
The eruption started with this beautiful feed by Marchand:
After the game, Marchand told reporters, “Everyone in the room wanted to be at their best, and everyone was at their best tonight.”
Boston certainly got their best from Pastrnak as he scored his first goal since the Columbus series. Pastrnak looked comfortable on Thursday night and perhaps is out of the malaise that saw him go stretches of games without finding the back of the net:
During the 2017-18 postseason, Pastrnak was productive with 20 points in 12 games. While his overall production is down (15 points in 17 games) this postseason he is finding ways to get the puck on the net. His Shot Through Percentage of 60 percent this postseason is much better compared to his 47.3 percent last postseason.
He will never let on, but maybe his thumb is finally getting healthy. Could it be that simple? If so, it may not matter who emerges from the Western Conference if a healthy Bruins top line is waiting for them on the other side.
Or as David Backes said after Thursday’s game, “You sacrifice a lot to win this game. We’ll be ready for whoever it is.”