Bruins’ top two lines face various challenges vs. Penguins
|06.01.13 at 1:36 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — Defensive pairings aside, the Bruins’ top two lines have their work cut out for them.
The Bruins will likely try to match the Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton line, with the Zdeno Chara–Dennis Seidenberg pairing, against the Penguins‘ top line of Evgeni Malkin between James Neal and Jarome Iginla. Patrice Bergeron‘s line can be expected to be matched up against the Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis line.
This will be as challenging a series as the Bruins will have this postseason for any of their players, but it will be especially tough on Boston’s top six forwards as they try to handle Pittsburgh’s forecheck while also trying to outscore the team that led the regular season in scoring.
“Obviously you’ve got to be responsible,” Lucic said of handling the Malkin line. “They’re great hockey players. I mean, all three guys on that line have scored 40 goals, two of them (Malkin and Iginla) scored 50. It’s no secret what they can do if you’re making careless plays and turning pucks over. Even on the other line, you look at Kunitz and Dupuis. Both scored 20 goals in a shortened season, and Sidney Crosby is Sidney Crosby. Their top two lines are full of fire power. You can’t be careless and make stupid turnovers.
“As much as there is focus in playing well defensively, we also need to score goals as well. We need to be making good hard plays and try to spend as much time in the offensive zone as we can.”
All six members of Pittsburgh’s top two lines have at least 10 points through 11 games this postseason, with Malkin leading the way with 16 points. Though Krejci leads all postseason players with 17 points through 12 games, the Bruins haven’t had the type of offensive consistency in the playoffs as the Penguins. Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin led the team in goals with 18 and 16, respectively, during the regular season but have combined for just three this postseason, with Seguin having since been demoted to the third line.
Though Krejci, Horton and Lucic all have at least 10 points so far, the Bergeron line hasn’t gotten that type of production. Marchand has nine points (two goals, seven assists), Bergeron has seven (three goals, four assists) and Jaromir Jagr has no goals and four assists.
Stopping the Penguins’ loaded offense is one thing, but the B’s need to also match their production.
“They’ve definitely had consistency throughout their lineup from start to finish of the season and also so far throughout the playoffs,” Lucic said. “That hasn’t been a problem for them for a while now.”