By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- All votes are hardly in, not with only two games played, but the Bruins' PBR Line looks like a winner.
PBR probably conjures up images of blue ribbon beer goodness to most, but its also the perfect moniker for the trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley as they teamed up for five points, a plus-6 and 12 shots on net in Bostons 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden Saturday night.
The three forwards were kicking each other after Thursday night for failing to convert on a bevy of offensive chances, but it was an entirely different story against the Lightning.
They were simply continuing the chemistry and production they began building during the preseason, and there was no mistaking how all their efforts funneled into the explosive elements of Peverleys two-goal masterpiece against the Lightning.
I feel we're creating a lot of chances off the rush, and even in zone, by our forecheck and by the way we keep moving our feet, said Bergeron. I thought we had a lot of chances last game as well and we didnt finish. Tonight we had the same thing and we found a way.
Peverley actually bookended the four-goal outburst from the Bruins against the Lightning, and ironically enough potted a pair of Mark Recchi-esque goals while going about replacing the retired legend at the left wing post he manned alongside Bergeron and Marchand last season.
Both were collected by patrolling near the painted area, and having that nose for the net Recchi turned into an art form.
Peverley served as a bottom-six forward last season for the Bruins in an adjustment to a deeper, more talented team, but now hes back in a prime scoring role like the one that allowed him score more than 20 goals and 50 points for the Atlanta Thrashers.
Its no stretch to think Peverley can do that again with the kind of catalyst winger and premier centerman logging shifts with him that he never had with the Thrashers.
When he came to us from Atlanta, he was in the top two lines and thats where he played, said coach Claude Julien. With the depth that we had last year, we just felt that him on the third line and Chris Kelly on that line, just gave us such good depth. We felt really comfortable with those top three lines scoring with Michael Ryder, and they proved that against Montreal in that series.
I dont think we ever doubted Peverley could play in the top six. I think he just seems to be getting better with our group, and he feels more comfortable.
The first marker was a goal earned simply by crashing the net and popping the rebound of a Marchand shot that clanked off both posts behind Mathieu Garon before it landed at Peverleys feet. The score was truly created by the devilish mind of Marchand, who fooled the defense into thinking hed feed Zdeno Chara at the point before he unleashed a laser at the net fooling the Bolts netminder.
The final goal was all speed and tenacity a pair of words that will become synonymous with the PBR Line as Marchand and Bergeron got the Lightning defenseman scrambling. Bergeron set things in motion by squeezing off a shot after hed quickly moved from backhand to forehand in the slot area that handcuffed the Tampa goaltender.
Garon was able to stop the first shot, but once again Peverley was crashing down on the net with a fierce burst of speed and tucked the puck past the Tampa Bay backup backstop.
Though Peverley and Recchi have some obvious differences as hockey players, one cant be faulted if they watched 60 minutes of hockey on Saturday night and thought they were watching a faster, more elusive Recchi skating around on the Garden ice.
Peverleys jets and skating wiggle give the PBR line a chance to create chaos with their speed and suffocating forecheck and thats exactly what happened to an overmatched group of defensemen all evening long. Throw in the chemistry that all three forwards created last year when they were together at times during the regular season and playoffs, and you have a line that Julien whether purposefully or by slip of the tongue labeled his top line during his postgame comments.
Given their speed, production, chemistry and willingness to play hard, relentless hockey at both ends of the rink, they look like the trio Julien is going to call on most often in key situations during the game.
The scariest part: after improving by leaps and bounds from opening night to Game No. 2, Marchand believes there is a great deal more growth still on tap for the PBR Line.
I think our line played better tonight than we did last game. I think the more were practicing and playing together the more confident were getting where each other is going to be and making plays together, said Marchand. Hopefully as the season goes on well be able to continue to grow and get better.
With Marchands feistiness, Bergerons two-way dominance and Peverleys blazing speed, the sky is the limit as the PBR Line gathers steam over the course of the brand new hockey season.