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More is needed from the Bergeron line

April 16, 2019, 11:30 AM ET [3 Comments]
Anthony Travalgia
Boston Bruins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
A big reason as to why the Bruins were able to move past the Toronto Maple Leafs last postseason was due to the success the line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak had in the series.

The trio combined for nine goals and 30 points, with 25 of those points coming at even strength.

But now, as the Bruins face a 2-1 series deficit heading into Game 4 Wednesday night in Toronto, the Bergeron line is left searching for answers as they’ve yet to make a real impact on the series.

Through three games in their best-of-seven series with the Maple Leafs, the line has three goals and six points. However, two of those three goals have come on the power play, and off the stick of Bergeron.

Brad Marchand has the line’s lone five-on-five goal.

At even the strength, the line is struggling to find ways to score, and it certainly has been an issue for a Bruins team that is not built to win hockey games when their top line is failing to put pucks in the net.

“I think they're trying real hard one-on-one to get there. They've got to use each other a little bit better and get an old-fashioned goal where there's a center lane drive, pucks to the net, second chance,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy. “They're pretty determined guys. They'll find their way."

Part of the issues the Bergeron line has faced has been how well Toronto’s top line of John Tavares, Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman have taken away space for the line, not allowing them to work the magic we’ve been accustomed too.

“It’s tight hockey, on both sides. Five-on-five, we’ve got to find ways to create more,” said Bergeron. “It’s a good matchup but, bottom line, you can’t really worry about that. It’s about competing and being your best and bringing the best out of our line.”

In just over 22 minutes of five-on-five ice time against the Tavares line, Bergeron and company have yet to generate a five-on-five goal, and have been out-shot 13-4.

The line is getting the puck inside the offensive zone, but from there they’re doing little with it. Part of that has been due to how little time they’re getting in the zone as a whole to work with the puck.

“It’s about keeping the puck, and once you do have possession it’s about getting it to the net a little bit more,” said Bergeron. “We can’t stay on the outside and we have to find a way to create those chances.”

Although they’re not exactly dominating on the score sheet, the Tavares line is doing what not many lines before them have been able to do in slowing down arguably the league’s top line.

Even when the Bergeron line has been able to get away from the Tavares trio, the results haven’t been much better.

In 35:57 of five-on-five ice time in the series, the Bergeron line has been out-shot 20-17.

“I think it’s more on us. We’re getting a little bit frustrated, but it’s a long series,” said Pastrnak. “We’re going to regroup.”

Coming into the series, the Bergeron line was a big focus of Toronto’s, especially Pastrnak. Through three games, Pastrnak has just one point, and has yet to put the puck in the net.

Pastrnak has fired 10 shots on goal.

After a quiet night in Game 1 and 2, Pastrnak was more engaged in Game 3. As you can see from the individual event maps below, Game 3 saw more shot attempts from Pastrnak as he looks to breakout of his slump.

Game 1:

Game 2:

Game 3:

Based off of what he showed in Game 3, we shouldn’t be surprised to see some better results off of Pastrnak’s stick in Game 4.

For the sake of the Bruins position in this series, they sure hope so.
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