By Joe Haggerty
CALGARY The Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand Show has practicallylugged the Bruins around offensively for nearly two months, and played to rave reviews through the entire NHL community.
Theres very little mystery as to why.
Bergeron has again become Bostons leading scorer, their best player and the biggest threat the B'shave to make significant plays both in the offensive and defensive zone.
Marchand potted his 19th goal of the season in the Bs 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, and moved one step closer to becoming the first Bs rookie to score 20 goals since Brad Boyes potted26 goals backin 2005-06.
But the big story out ofBoston in animpressive, wrinkle-freewin over a Flames team that hadnt lost in regulation at the Saddledome in over a month and a team that the Bs hadnt beaten in Calgary since 1997, when names like Anson Carter, Ray Bourque, Jim Carey and Grant Ledyard dotted the roster was the rise of the Bruins' top offensive line back to form.
There has been plenty of signs and shreds of evidence that Milan Lucic and David Krejci were both piecing their games backtogether, and right wing Nathan Horton was being pushed right along with them. The signs and hints all ultimatelyled to the lines performance in the win over Calgary behind a pair of goals from Lucic, and a dazzling, daring performance down the middle from Krejci that helped produce some much-needed offense.
Theyve been on fire lately, said Marchand. Theyre really picking it up, and were awfully tough to play when weve got other lines going and you cant focus on any one. Its just too hard for the other team.
The newly formed trio managed to combine for 10 shots on net, and totaled more than 13 of the teams total offense with 29 aggregateshots leveled against Finnish goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. For Lucic, everything that went down in Calgary originated with things starting to click in the win over the Senators last week.
I think we created a bit of momentum in the last game against Ottawa. Horton had a big goal against Ottawa, and helped set up another big goal for Seidenberg on the power play, said Lucic. As a line were most effective when were skating, and thats what we were doing tonight.
Our game kind of fell off there in January. We all werent making smart plays, we were coughing up pucks and we werent moving like we usually do. These last couple games I feel like were moving as we should be, were strong on the puck and were winning battles. If we want to be an effective line, thats exactly what weve got to do.
Krejci now has tenpoints (2 goals,8 assists) in his last seven games while manning the center spot on Bostons top line, and has once again stepped into the breach left by the injured Marc Savard a role Krejci has dutifully filled in each of the last three seasons whenever No. 91 has broken down.
Meanwhile Lucic had the two goals in Tuesdays win the first a great tap-in on a nice slap-pass from David Krejci while working the puck off the side wall and thenLucics NHL-best fifth empty net goal of the year to ice thingsfor the Bruins and has put up nine points (6 goals, 3 assists) and a plus-6 in his last 10 games.
Even Horton has 2 goals and six assists in his last nine games, and appears to again be flashing the ability to mix in some dominant offensive performances mixed in the more invisible performances like Tuesday night in Calgary. That's partially a Horton thing, but more a Krejci and Lucic thing as the duo has elevated their games with the important hockey month of March approaching.Both players have typically elevated their games when the big moments come, and that's once again the case.
Despite Hortons absence of production, Bs coach Claude Julien said that the top line was something thatthe hard-to-please hockey coach trulyliked as he watchedhis best offensive players finallybeginning to assert themselves again.
They were good tonight. They were good as Ive seen then in a long time here. I really felt pretty good about all four lines: everybody went out and did their job, and they were really reliable the while way, said Julien. You want to get contributions from all four lines, and tonight was the kind of night where everyone was able to recharge the batteries.Consider Lucic and Krejci charged, and ready to go.