Bruins shouldn't break up Perfection Line when Patrice Bergeron returns


BRIGHTON, Mass – There have been plenty of deep hockey thinkers that have wanted to break up the Bruins Perfection Line for the better part of the last two seasons.

Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak have come together over the last two years to be the best two-way line in the NHL. There are other super lines to compete with them now like the Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen trio in Colorado, of course, but the Bruins trio has been at it for a couple of seasons, and can play clamp-down defense in addition to lighting the ice up offensively.

With Patrice Bergeron poised to return to the B’s lineup as soon as Saturday afternoon vs. the Predators after missing the last month-plus with a chest injury, the question is naturally moving toward what to do with the B’s top six forwards. David Krejci stepped in for Bergeron during his absence and was at his playmaking best with five goals and 11 points in eight games centering Marchand and Pastrnak over the last couple of weeks.

So what should Bruce Cassidy do with Krejci, Pastrnak and Marchand when Bergeron actually enters back into the lineup. Would it be a good idea to slot Bergeron with a different young guy like Jake DeBrusk, and then allow the Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak line to keep rolling while No. 37 gets his legs back under him after missing a month?

Is it simply crazy to bust up Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak given the weapon they’ve been for the Black and Gold over the last two seasons?

“If you split [the top line] up… now the third line, we’ve tried to keep those kids together. Something’s going to have to give on the other lines. But, that’s a good problem to have because we want Bergy in the lineup. We want Krech in the lineup. That’s our 1A and 1B up the middle, so we’ll sort it out from there, which kind of we’ve done all year,” said Cassidy. “[We’ll] see what fits best, and we’re getting to the point where I think we have to look at it. We’ve talked about it as we get healthier and our lineup's complete. I think it’s going to be after Christmas until we get everyone back – but it’s coming.”


It certainly is coming with Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller all skating without restrictions at Bruins practice and Jake DeBrusk back practicing with the team as well. Based on the lines at B’s practice on Friday morning, the Bruins will break up the Perfection Line with David Pastrnak slotting in at second line right wing with David Krejci.

It will answer some of the nattering nabobs that have wanted to see what life would be like with the top line broken up into two lesser, but still solid, lines. That will be the case with slow-starting Danton Heinen (four goals and eight points in 33 games) getting the call on the right wing with Bergeron and Marchand, and the immortal Joakim Nordstrom taking the left wing with Krejci and Pastrnak.

But it’s a mistake for the Bruins to bust up the Perfection Line in this humble hockey writer’s opinion. Right now Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak is the kind of two-way force that strikes fear into the hearts of even the NHL’s best offensive players, and they can’t consistently be stopped by anybody across the league.

You don’t run away from those kinds of creations on a team, you run toward them and don’t ever give them up. Instead it should be up to Bruins GM Don Sweeney to go out and find the additional top-6 goal-scoring winger for the Krejci line, and then bump Pastrnak back up where he belongs with Bergeron and Marchand. The Bruins have issues with their scoring depth because they are one quality top-six forward away from the kinds of rosters that Tampa Bay and Toronto currently have in their Atlantic Division.

The hope is that by the NHL trade deadline months from now that the Bruins have made their move, and brought in an impact scoring forward like Wayne Simmonds, or Artemi Panarin, or Vladimir Tarasenko, or Jeff Carter. It will be this season’s version of the Rick Nash trade with the hope that the player actually works out this time, rather than last season’s failure due to unforeseen concussion issues with the big guy.  

Then they can actually have their hockey cake and eat it too with an intact Perfection Line ready to do some damage, and a functional second line that will actually provide the Bruins with some offensive punch to strengthen their forward group.  

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