The Boston Bruins are down 2-1 in their first round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. A big reason for that has been a lack of production from their top line. Their top line has been almost unheard from throughout this series and are getting largely outplayed by the top line of the Maple Leafs.
It was clearly noticeable the other night in Toronto both Pastrnak and Marchand seemed nervous with the puck and unsure of themselves. Both guys are normally shoot first type player but they seemed hesitant to rip shots and opted to make a poor pass instead of throwing it on net. They were sloppy the whole night with their puck handling and zone entries, they couldn’t get a clean zone entry on the power play or 5 on 5 the whole night. While their defensive play hasn’t been a major issue their play with the puck has been terrible. They can’t find any open ice in the offensive zone and it’s a strange sight to see from a line that usually dominates both zones. Give credit to the Leafs though they have been doing a great job pressuring the Bergeron line every chance they get.
If this slump continues Cassidy has suggested they might split up that top line and try to get Pastrnak alongside Krejci and DeBrusk. A shuffling of the lines may be just what the doctor ordered, by splitting them up it will provide a better chance for Pasta to get going, since he will be facing the Leafs second defensive pairing and one of their less defensive skilled forward lines. Adding Heinen to that top line will change up their look too, Heinen has looked great on that third line and they’ve really been pushing the pace of play.
We could also see Johansson and Moore return to the lineup tonight as they are both game time decisions. With these two returning the Bruins lineup does get stronger and deeper. Johansson will likely slot in for Backes on that third line with Charlie Coyle and maybe Karson Kuhlman (if they break up the Bergeron line). Either way the Bruins need a powerful performance from their top line tonight and they won’t win this series if they don’t get that unit going.
The series continues tonight with game 4 in Toronto, faceoff will be at 7:00.
-Tyler Smith (@TylerSmith4386)