At this point, the Bruins injury woes are getting old. Heading into the season, the Bruins forward depth was spare. Management left room for their young forwards to take spots in the lineup, but that plan never panned out. So when Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk are absent from the lineup, it’s not a pleasant sight to see.
Bruce Cassidy experimented with a Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak first line on Thursday during a 3-2 loss to Tampa. The trio spent a little over six minutes in that affair as the Bruins tried to claw back into the game.
“We put our eggs in one basket offensively and went and asked some guys to check harder against some players,” Bruce Cassidy said after the game. Unlike in Tampa, the plan was drawn up in practice Saturday morning. However, according to Brad Marchand, they weren’t very good.
“It’s good to try to get a little bit of chemistry,” Marchand said, “I thought we had some good shifts, and some you could tell we haven’t played together a ton.”
The Bruins top line was the source of two of their four 5v5 goals Saturday night, including this beauty.
Matched almost exclusively to the top line for the Maple Leafs, the Bruins top line managed to outshoot and outscore them at 5v5. Mitch Marner, who had 40 points in 29 games heading into Saturday, was only on the ice for five shots on goal against the Bruins top line, and none of them were his.
Stacking the top line has been a hotly contested issue in Boston for quite some time now. Moreover, with less talent in the lineup, the effects will be amplified. While the top line took two-thirds of the 5v5 shot attempts, six forwards took only one-third of the 5v5 shot attempts they were on the ice for.
In other words, the Bruins will get severely outshot when the top line is not on the ice, which leaves them susceptible to being outscored. Luckily for the Bruins, they saw some secondary scoring last night from Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato which drew the Bruins even a 2-2 at 5v5 when the top line wasn’t on the ice. While this may be fun to watch, this may not end up being the path the Bruins take going forward.