Bruins' Perfection Line lives up to its name in clinching Cup berth

Bruins' Perfection Line lives up to its name in clinching Cup berth

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Bruins' Perfection Line wasn’t quite living up to its name in the conference final entering the fourth and final game in the best-of-seven series. Instead it was more about the team's roster depth and its secondary scoring coming to the forefront and doing the job as Boston built up a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

But Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were on a mission in Thursday night’s Game 4 as their line accounted for all four goals scored and eight points overall in a 4-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena to finish off the clean sweep.

“I think the last few games we knew that we could be a little bit better than what we’ve been,” admitted Brad Marchand. “With the situation we were in — up 3-0 — everybody wanted to be at their best, and I think everybody brought their best tonight. Sometimes it bounces your way. You look at [Bergeron’s] history and the way he steps up in big games. Pasta was great tonight.

“The reason we’ve been successful is because we’ve had each line and every D-pairing step up and play big in big situations. When you’re able to rely on everyone it makes it easier to just focus on doing your own job, and do what you’re expected to do. You all just gel together in those situations.”

Bergeron scored the second and third goals of the game on the power play, and finished with a dominant performance in yet another elimination game with the two goals, three points, 11 shot attempts, four takeaways and three blocked shots while filling out the score sheet.

It was clear that it was going to be a perfect kind of night from the very first period when it took great saves from Curtis McElhinney to keep Marchand and Pastrnak off the board. Eventually that dam busted open, however, as the B’s top players provided pressure and then got awarded a couple of power plays in the second period that they turned into damage-makers.

The Perfection Line finished with the four goals, 11 shots on net and a whopping 26 shot attempts in a dominant puck possession performance that eventually turned into enough finished plays to dust off the Hurricanes. The eight points that the trio combined for actually outnumbered the points (six) that Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak put up in the first three games of the series vs. the Hurricanes, so it was the perfect time for the big guns to step up.

“It hasn’t been one line [in the playoffs], but [in Game 4] it was. The big line was there,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I’m proud of the guys especially with the way they played today. They’ve earned the right to be there in the Stanley Cup Final. We’ve beaten three good teams. There’s some unfinished business. We want to enjoy it, but we understand that there are four more steps to take.”

Certainly it will be four steps that will be a little more easily attained if the Perfection Line lives up to its name in the Cup Final as it did while closing out the Hurricanes in dominant fashion during Game 4. 

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Shawn Thornton, Mark Recchi reflect on Bruins' Game 7 vs. Canadiens in 2011

Shawn Thornton, Mark Recchi reflect on Bruins' Game 7 vs. Canadiens in 2011

The Boston Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup run was unbelievable -- especially since Claude Julien's team was considered an underdog throughout the entirety of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Although Tim Thomas, David Krejci and Nathan Horton played key roles in the 2011 championship, everyone did their job, including Mark Recchi and Shawn Thornton. 

Recchi and Thornton reflected on that historic 2011 Cup run in a recent interview with SportsNet's Eric Engels and solely focused on Game 7 of their quarterfinals matchup with the Montreal Canadiens.  

"The whole series was so intense like it always is with Montreal and Boston and it just got elevated because you're in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs," Recchi said of an epic Game 7 against the Habs. "Just the energy and the passion in both teams displayed was just incredible to be a part of. There was a lot of ups and downs throughout the whole game and it just showed you how even everything was throughout the whole year with our two teams." 

Thornton had a similar take but also mentioned how much the B's-Habs rivalry impacted his career. 

"This rivalry was everything for my career," Thornton said. "I loved playing Montreal. I love being involved. I loved the passion, the fire. This game... was I even on the ice for most of it? I think I just had the best seat in the house. I think most people in Boston paid $1,000 bucks and I just got to sit there for free and watch Recchi do his thing.

"But you know, we were lucky we ended up moving on and had a great finale to that season. Being there was a lot different than the Game 7 my first year when I was in Boston when we lost to Montreal. That rivalry was at its height when we were playing there and I'm just happy to have been a part of it. Doesn't matter what side you're on really. I mean, I'm a Bruin in those days but either side you just had to enjoy the rivalry."

And of course there would've been no Stanley Cup victory without former Bruins head coach Claude Julien, and Thornton reflected on how much of an influence Julien had on that 2011 team throughout the entire season.

"I remember Lake Placid the most. We were going to Lake Placid to hide but when you go to Lake Placid there's nowhere to hide so all the media knew we were going there and it ended up being a bigger fishbowl," Thornton said. "But, Claude [Julien] was amazing at the one game at a time or the one period at a time. Like we don't have to win four straight guys. We don't even have to win the next two games, we just have to win the next period and then take it from there.

"I think our team really adopted that. He should also send Recchi and Horton some of his paychecks that he's still getting because he wouldn't be getting those sheets in Montreal if it wasn't for us winning that game. We were there for a lot of years together and he definitely had a calming influence when it came to those situations and our leadership group in the room too was huge for us."

After defeating Montreal in seven games, the B's went on to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers in the semifinals, crush the Tampa Bay Lightning's hopes in the conference finals, and well, we all know what happened in the Stanley Cup Final. 

That team was something special, and the only members from that squad still with the Bruins are Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask. 

If one thing's for sure, those four guys will need to become leaders in the 2020 playoffs, provided they happen, and help Boston avenge its 2019 finals loss to the St. Louis Blues. 

You can watch the full interview below or by clicking here. 

Bruins' David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk to play Fornite Saturday as part of COVID-19 fundraiser

Bruins' David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk to play Fornite Saturday as part of COVID-19 fundraiser

Life without hockey might be getting to David Pastrnak.

The thing Pasta is doing Saturday, along with Bruins teammate Jake DeBrusk, is participating in "Twitch Stream Aid" a fundraiser for coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, relief. 

DeBrusk and Pastrnak will be playing Fortnite along with Toronto Maple Leafs teammates Zach Hyman and William Nylander. 

The event's website describes it as, "The worlds of gaming, music, and sports are coming together to benefit the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO [World Health Organization] powered by the United Nations Foundation."