BOSTON — It wasn’t a barrage of goals from the Bruins fourth line or a round of board-rattling hits that everybody could see, but the B’s energy line was a constant factor in Thursday night’s 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden.
That's what they were pretty much all of last season, and that’s what they’ve needed to be this season while falling short most of the time.
But Sean Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom and Chris Wagner had it going against the Jets with Wagner generating a handful of scoring chances among his team-high seven shots on net and nine shot attempts.
Wagner didn’t end up scoring and missed a little time after he crashed into the boards following a breakaway attempt in the first period, but their presence was felt throughout the game after Wagner had scored a few nights ago in Nashville.
“I thought [Sean] Kuraly’s line — Chris Wagner had the best game of the year offensively. Hit a post, was in all alone, breakaway, guy makes a great save, had a couple other point-blankers. Their line was going, I thought Nordy [Joakim Nordstrom] gave them a lot of energy,” said Bruce Cassidy of Wagner, whose offense has been down from last season when he popped in a career-high 12 goals and 19 points. “When he’s skating, it makes a difference on that line. They were good.
“We’ve said that all along that what they leave is just as important as what they accomplish for us, so if they can accomplish some o-zone time and then leave us with a good puck getting back on the attack, then they’ve really done their job.”
Certainly there is still ongoing work for the B’s energy after a couple of solid back-to-back games, and the Bruins still have a lot to iron out with the second and third lines still trying to find their workable combinations.
And it goes without saying at this point that they’ve missed the presence of Noel Acciari, who has blown up offensively with 17 goals for the Florida Panthers after signing with them as a free agent this summer.
This humble hockey writer has long been banging the drum for the Bruins to acquire a fourth line bruiser who can throw heavy hits, lean on teams with size and strength and stand up for his teammates when the situation calls for it within games. But right now, that’s just not the way it’s going for the B’s energy line.
Instead, a few promising games in a row is a step in the right direction for Boston’s fourth line, and having both them and the Perfection Line as consistent commodities that Cassidy can rely on will give the B’s building blocks they need to win hockey games right now.