BRIGHTON -- With a lineup that’s missing many of its depth players, the Bruins are going to load up at the very top and hope they can ride that to a few victories in the short term.
Coach Bruce Cassidy has reunited Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron with 21-year-old David Pastrnak, and pieced back together a line that did a lot of offensive damage last season.
There didn’t appear to be much choice given that the B's are missing a host of other centers with David Krejci, David Backes and Ryan Spooner all injured. Clearly it wasn’t Cassidy’s first choice, as it makes the Bruins a little easier to stop defensively if all their point-production eggs are stocked in one basket. But we all know what they say about desperate times.
“It’s going to be a little more ‘by committee’ with all the injuries," said Cassidy. "We’ve seen a lot of shifting of lines night to night, and that won’t change. We’ll see who best fits with who and the match-ups on a night-to-night [basis], but we lose a big physical match-up advantage that we’d had recently [with Backes out].
“We have a core group of guys that can really carry this team. We just have to get the other guys pulled in quick. That’s our job and to make sure that our core is good every night . . . That’s a big ask for those guys to bring their ‘A’ games every night, but that’s what we’re looking at right now. They have to lead us, and the followers have to do a good job following.”
So now the two leading goal-scorers for the Bruins -- Marchand and Pastrnak, who've combined for 14 -- will join up with Bergeron, who has averaged a point-per-game in his six games since returning from a season-opening injury.
Clearly the defensive expectations of playing with Bergeron adn Marchand could also be a good thing for Pastrnak, given his minus-7 rating to start the season.
Pastrnak said the trio won’t be putting any additional pressure on themselves as Boston’s top-heavy offensive line, but it does seem like the goals and points seem to follow whenever they’re put together.
“Those two guys have been together for so long and they have such good chemistry, it’s easy to get in there," he said. "I’ve been around a lot of lines the last few years, so it doesn’t matter who I’m with. I’m just trying to do my best and always [trying to] get the offensive stuff going. Every time I come to that line, we don’t talk about anything except trying to get the job done. That’s all we talk about [between] the three of us. We never talk about scoring a goal, you know? We just talk about getting the job done.”
In this case “getting the job done” would be winning some games and surviving until they start getting some of their injured bodies back in the lineup. That’s the task for Boston’s remaining healthy players -- like Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak -- in what could be some short-term trying times ahead.