Throughout Claude Julien’s tenure in Boston, the Bruins have prided themselves on rolling all four lines. That philosophy still holds true, but so far the line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla are unquestionable playing like a No. 1 line.
Iginla, Lucic and Krejci were at it again Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Combined, the trio threw seven shots towards Leafs goalie James “Rebound” Reimer and delivered nine hits in the B’s 3-1 victory in front of the 175th consecutive sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden.
And it didn’t take them long to get going either. Late in the first, the trio spent 1:45 in the Leafs offensive zone and drew a holding penalty on Jay McClement. That set up Zdeno Chara’s power play tally to give the B’s a 1-0 lead at 15:27 of the opening stanza.
Not bad for a trio that was put together at training camp.
“I felt coming in you want to be a part of the line and help the line,” said Iginla, who replaced Nathan Horton at right wing after several years in Calgary and a stint in Pittsburgh. “Krech and Looch and they’re very successful and you want to come in and help continue that.”
“We want to wear other teams down, but we want to put pressure and offensive pressure on them and put some in,” Iginla added. “I think we’re getting more looks on a nightly basis and spending more time in their zone than ours and I think we’re starting to read off each other and starting to get some real chemistry.”
Replacing Horton’s size and skill might be tough for some teams, but the B’s lucked out when they signed Iginla in July. The two do have similar traits, but Iginla’s pedigree is just what the top line, and the Bruins, need in the first month of the year.
Saturday night was no different as Iginla nearly completed a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. The former Flames’ captain tallied the primary assist on the power play on Chara’s third of the year at 15:27 of the first and dropped the gloves with fellow power-forward David Clarkson just 45 seconds into the second period.
All that was missing was a goal, but despite that, Iginla, once again, delivered a game-changing performance.
“He stood tall for our team,” Julien said about Iginla. “A player who’s been around the league for that long a lot of times doesn’t even want to do that stuff or doesn’t feel that it’s his job to do whatever it takes to help his team out. So [I’m] really impressed with him since he’s been here.”
It’s always nice to rely on a deep roster during the course of an 82-game season. And while some lines are still working on some kinks, the top line is gelling.
With Brad Marchand, Loui Eriksson and Patrice Bergeron – who scored two goals in the third period – starting to gel, and the top line still doing its thing, the depth is coming starting to come together for the Black and Gold.
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