As the Boston Bruins go through their mid-season slump that seems to happen every year, it was evident that the production from the first line must be better.
Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla combined for one assist in their last five games with a minus-9 rating – very uncharacteristic from a line that has carried the Black and Gold for spurts during the season.
Thursday night in Dallas, the first line answered the bell with a four-point night. Milan Lucic scored the game-winning goal and added an assist, while David Krejci broke a scoreless tie with four seconds left in the middle stanza and assisted on Lucic’s power play marker, which was the first goal in the B’s 18 previous attempts on the man advantage.
Lucic knew eventually the team and his line would break out of their funk and he was glad they got it done in the midst of the team’s mid-season slump.
After a dismal west coast trip resulting in only two points, the B’s came home to play Toronto Tuesday night which resulted in a 4-3 loss. The combination of Lucic-Krejci-Iginla resulted in zero points and a minus-4 rating in that span, but Thursday was a different story.
After the second period, Krejci spoke with NESN’s Jamie Erdahl about his line getting the monkey off their back.
“Our line hasn’t scored at all lately so it was good to get one,” Krejci said. “Hopefully there is more to come.”
This Bruins team has so much depth, but it is safe to say this team will go as the first line goes. Lucic, Krejci and Iginla are as talented and feared top line there is in the game today. They play with skill, toughness and grit.
The top line has combined for 99 points through 47 games in the 2013-14 season. Thursday was Lucic’s first goal since December 21st and only his second goal in his last 19 games. Krejci’s tally was his first since December 31st.
It was a real welcoming sign for a team that separates itself from the pact due to its depth. When all four lines are rolling, they are tough to beat. When one line is struggling, however, the team tends to struggle. We have seen that over the past few weeks.
There were many takeaways from the Bruins’ win in Dallas. The penalty kill and power-play looked better, Chad Johnson stepped in for the first time in over a month and got a victory. But the real story was the resurgence of that B’s first line of Lucic, Krejci and Iginla.
It was by no accident that the Black and Gold regained sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division with the help of their first line.
See what Lucic, Claude Julien, Zdeno Chara, Loui Eriksson, Brad Marchand and Chad Johnson had to say about their victory over the Stars last night.