With their three biggest stars reunited as ‘The Perfection Line’ once again, the Boston Bruins finally played like the team that stormed through the first three months of 2022 and beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in Game 3 Friday night at a raucous TD Garden.
All of a sudden, talk of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup window being swept away by the Hurricanes has been put on hold and with a win on Sunday, the Boston Bruins can head back south to Raleigh with this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series knotted at two games apiece.
Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand scored the go-ahead goal 5:41 into the second period to give the Bruins their first lead over the Hurricanes not just in the series but all season, and added two assists. Bruins game-breaker David Pastrnak padded the lead to 3-1 with a powerplay goal 14:53 into the middle frame and also assisted on a Taylor Hall powerplay tally that made it 4-1 4:08 into the third period. Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron was actually the first member of ‘The Perfection Line’ to step up with two goals in a 5-2 loss in Game 3 that put the Bruins in a 0-2 deficit in the series with the Hurricanes. In Game 3, Bergeron assisted on Marchand’s game-winner for his third point in two games. He also reverted back to his usual self at the faceoff dot going 11-6 after a losing performance in Games 1 and 2.
“We knew that was coming,” said Boston Bruins rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman when asked about the ripple effect of the instant success ‘The Perfection line’ had when reunited to start a game for the first time since December 16.
“They’ve been bringing it all year and they’re going to show up at the big times. We know that they’re going to bring it every night and their attention to detail off-ice, on practice days, it’s unmatched. So, you now it’s going to break through and I think they’re just getting started.”
What this trio of Boston Bruins stars who could all one day raise their numbers to the TD Garden rafters isn’t about to start doing is rest on their laurels from Game 3.
#NHLBruins winger Brad Marchand all biz and not resting on his or the team’s laurels in Game 3.
“This game’s over and we’re focused on the next one.”
— MurphysLaw74 (@MurphysLaw74) May 7, 2022
“We’ve been kind of playing catch up all series and it felt good to know we can come back and respond the way we have in the past, but it’s one game. Right now it’s day-to-day,” Marchand said following the win. “Yeah, it feels good to get that one but it’s on to the next.”
The 33-year-old veteran winger has struggled for the better part of a month now. Marchand snapped an 11-game goalless slump on April 26 but then failed to light the lamp in his previous three games. In Game 3, the Boston Bruins winger was a buzzsaw for 60 minutes and admitted that’s the best he’s felt in awhile.
“I think the most, I felt engaged,” Marchand acknowledged. “It’s kind of been a little while since I felt that into a game and I think when the importance of the situation where you know you’re in, I think it hit us all. Guys just seemed like they were prepared when they got to the rink tonight.”
Once again though, like the leaders he, Bergeron and Pastrnak are, Marchand wasn’t about to get carried away in the relief of beating this Carolina Hurricanes team for the first time in six tries and since the opening round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“But, that’s the desperation that they’ve been playing with from Game 1 and that’s what we need to play with every day moving forward,” Marchand pointed out. “So it’s a good lesson for us to continue to learn and again we need to keep playing like that. They’re gonna elevate; they’re a good team, it’s what they’ve done all year; they know how to respond and I don’t think that was their best effort when you look at the games they played in Carolina versus [Friday], we know they’re going to be better so we have to better too.”
If ‘The Perfection Line’ is better than they were in Game 3, it’s a good bet the rest of the Boston Bruins will be too.