Boston Bruins: It might be time to put ‘The Perfection Line’ back together

Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Bruins first-round matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes did not get off to a pretty  start in Game 1. While the final score of 5-1 is a bit misleading (the Bruins were down by just one goal with a little over 10 minutes left), it wasn’t the start the Bruins were looking for to their playoff campaign.

Despite eliminating the ‘Canes from the playoffs twice in the past three seasons, Boston has been throroughly outplayed by Carolina this season. The two teams have squared off four times this season now, and Carolina has outscored Boston 21-2 in those contests. Safe to say Carolina wasn’t an ideal first-round playoff opponent for the B’s.

The Bruins have been in a bit of an offensive funk over the last month or so. While their five-on-five scoring has remained consistent to an extent, their power play unit has gone missing in action, and their offense has struggled as a result. This isn’t the first time this has happened this season however.

In early January, head coach Bruce Cassidy mixed up Boston’s offensive lines in search of a spark to the team’s slow start to the season. This ended with him breaking up the so-called “Perfection Line” of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak, and for a point in time, it did wonders to the teams scoring. But with the team’s scoring drying up again, it may be time to reunite Boston’s top line in order to produce more goals against the Hurricanes.

The Boston Bruins need “The Perfection Line” back together

For the most part, it seems like Cassidy had settled in on his line combinations heading into the postseason. The team’s offensive production was lacking, but they were dealt some untimely injuries, and Cassidy figured those players (mainly Pastrnak) returning would help produce more goals. So far, though, it has not.

Cassidy’s switches earlier did wonders for the Bruins offense, particularly the top two lines. Pastrnak’s creativity on the second line helped open things up for him and his linemates, and he quickly overcame a slow start to the season to lead in Boston in goals during the regular season. Jake DeBrusk also saw an uptick in production, as he got bumped up to the top line alongside Bergeron and Marchand.

The problem is the top line hasn’t really ben producing as of late for the B’s. They have been solid, but they haven’t been scoring. Marchand in particular has really started to struggle, as he’s only scored once in his last 14 games, and that one goal was on an empty net. And while DeBrusk has found his form again, Bergeron hasn’t scored at the same rate we have become accustomed to seeing throughout his career.

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In essence, Cassidy made life more difficult for Marchand and Bergeron in order to bolster the depth of the team’s offense. It worked in the regular season, but it appears to have run it’s course at this point. It’s time to reunite “The Perfection Line” in an effort to score more goals against Carolina.

The Hurricanes top two lines are extremely deep. The issue is that the Boston Bruins don’t have the depth to match up against them as currently constructed. Carolina is one of the best defensive teams in the league, and they had no problem in Game 1 frustrating the Bruins in their scoring efforts.

The way to counteract this is put Pastrnak back up top alongside Bergeron and Marchand. The top line spent a lot of time on the ice against Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo, Carolina’s top defensive pairing. And quite frankly, the top line had nothing going against these guys. The second line generated the best chances (and the only goal) all night long, as the first line was awfully quiet.

Moving Pastrnak up top wouldn’t be as detrimental to the second line as people may think. Taylor Hall can create chances on a whim and Erik Haula demonstrated his nose for goal over the second half of the season. DeBrusk has also been great since moving to the top line, so in this scenario, Hall would basically get the reigns of the second line and try to create chances for Haula and DeBrusk, which shouldn’t be asking too much from any of these players.

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This simple tweak may be the key to unlocking the Boston Bruins offense, and given how stout Carolina has been this season, they are going to need it. Cassidy’s line changes back in January accomplished what they were supposed to accomplish. Now that the offense is struggling again, it’s time for Cassidy to make another change in order to wake up the team and potentially save their season.