BOSTON -- The Bruins’ second line had been way too quiet in the first two games against the Montreal Canadiens when it appeared Boston was fading into the sunset down 3-1 in the third period.
Reilly Smith and Patrice Bergeron had been held in check offensively, and Brad Marchand was embroiled in his worst game of the postseason through the first two periods of play. But then the PBR Line (Patrice, Brad, Reilly) struck for three goals in 5:32 in the third period to spark the Black and Gold in a 5-3 comeback victory over a stunned Habs bunch in Game 2 at TD Garden.
Bergeron said after the game it was much more about actions than it was about words sparking the team, and his line’s play did all of the talking.
“It shows our character. I think we make it unnecessarily hard for ourselves sometimes, but it’s a great, gutsy win today,” said Tuukka Rask. “I’m really proud of the guys.”
Perhaps it’s also about lucky bounces as the assistant captain’s harmless shot from the perimeter hit a run on the TD Garden ice, and the puck bounced up and past Carey Price like it was shot from a cannon. The goal gives Bergeron a career-high six game point streak in the playoffs, and continues an all-around career season for No. 37.
That’s something you might go five years without seeing again on the TD Garden ice, but it was also a byproduct of staying persistent when challenged in the third period.
“We’ve been there before. I think we’ve got the resilience in here, and I think we’re a confident group being down by a few goals,” said Bergeron. “We definitely don’t want to be in that situation, but when we are we know we can come back in games.
“When you have that kind of confidence, [more] often than not you’re making the right decisions. I think it was pretty obvious that we needed to all step up. It was about everyone, not just one guy. Sometimes it’s not about words, it’s more about actions, right? It was about really making sure we were all doing it for the guy next to you, and stepping up.
Marchand used his patented curl and drag move to set up Dougie Hamilton’s goal that got the ball rolling for the Bruins, and then Bergeron and Smith added goals of their own for the winning margin. Coincidentally it was also that line that produced the tying and winning goal in the miraculous Game 7 third period comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs, so it’s something of a calling card for that group of Boston forwards.
This time it was Smith as the game-winning hero for a different wrinkle, but that line unquestionably pumped life back into the Bruins by taking things one goal at a time in the comeback. It all started with Marchand’s slick pass to Dougie Hamilton for a goal that closed them to within a one goal deficit.
“You’re more looking at that first goal. I think if you can really focus on getting that first one then you know you’re going to have the momentum, and guys are going to be fired up,” said Marchand. “And a lot of times when you’re down by a couple goals and you get one with 10 minutes, then with the momentum shift teams don’t end up getting that second goal. We knew that, and we just wanted to keep pushing forward.”
It wasn’t just about the passing or lucky bounces for the line, though. Marchand and Bergeron were both grinding at the front of the net on the Smith game-winner, and the Nose Face Killah drove both P.K. Subban and Carey Price to distraction as Torey Krug set up the right wing for the game-winner.
“I think a big part of our game is having guys battling in front,” said Marchand. “Definitely, we battled hard there. I didn’t really see the play but, it was definitely nice to get that goal.”
It was nice for Bergeron, Marchand and Smith to see the three goals their line produced that turned Game 2 from bitter disappointment into potential momentum shifter in the series after one period’s worth of stellar work.