Regardless of whether they beat the Devils in New Jersey on Friday night, the Boston Bruins will head into the Christmas break as the best team in the NHL.
One of, if not the biggest reasons, the Bruins sit atop the NHL standings is their amazing depth at the forward position. The third line of Taylor Hall-Charlie Coyle-Trent Frederic has been the perfect example of that depth in action as they have become arguably the best third line in the NHL. In the Bruins’ 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night, veteran Boston Bruins winger Nick Foligno reminded head coach Jim Montgomery that he can also ride shotgun on that third line and transform it into a heavy line that can wear down opponents.
Midway through the second period, Foligno got an assist on David Pastrnak’s goal that made it 2-1 Jets 12:08 into the middle frame. Foligno dumped the puck in behind the net and it took a lucky bounce off the end boards behind Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck. All of sudden Pastrnak found himself in front with an early and gift-wrapped Christmas present and his 22nd goal of the season that extended his point streak to ten games.
That bounce was a Christmas miracle for the Bruins.
David Pastrnak buries it for Boston.
2-1 game. pic.twitter.com/YUmZKTUHAG
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) December 23, 2022
“Yeah, the old wily vet knew exactly how the stanchions were going to kick it out,” Foligno joked after the game. “No, that was lucky…but you know what? It got us going, so we’ll take it.”
That proved to be the lucky bounce the Bruins needed to wake up as they tied the game just under three minutes later on a Jake DeBrusk powerplay tally 15 minutes into the period. In the third period, Foligno proved that he could be more than a lucky charm playing on the third line with Coyle and Frederic, scoring the eventual game-winner with 8:52 left in regulation.
Nick Foligno gives the Bruins a 3-2 lead.
Three unanswered from Boston: pic.twitter.com/8ORpVSsbnh
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) December 23, 2022
That goal was a result of that line driving to the net and making life miserable for the Jets and Hellybuyck.
“I think that’s the biggest thing, too. When [Montgomery] puts us out there together, it’s usually for a reason – it’s to try and get down low underneath the goal line and use our big bodies to get the momentum back, and luckily we were able to get that one for us,” Foligno said of why he got moved up to the third line.
Foligno’s renaissance season has made him just another weapon for Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery to use.
“I do like Foligno being up there with Frederic and Coyle,” Montgomery said. “It gives us a real, big, heavy line that is hard to handle, and both goals they’ve scored are very similar. Vegas was really similar to that as well. But I really like him with [Tomas] Nosek and [Craig Smith] or [A.J.] Greer as well. They’ve been able to establish good starts for us by starting them at the beginning of games.”