The Bruins were finished, cooked, fried; whatever over-done culinary metaphor you prefer.
Public Enemy No. 1 to Bruins fans over the years has been P.K. Subban, and the defenseman had already assisted on a go-ahead score with 1:51 left in the second period; lowered himself on a hit that sent Shawn Thornton awkwardly into the boards and down the tunnel due to injury; and then assisted on another goal to make it 3-1 in the third period.
But the line that has led the Bruins at both ends of the ice this season came alive when the team needed it most.
The line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Reilly Smith got the Bruins back into the game, and eventually got the game-winner.
Clicking towards the halfway point in the third period, Bergeron led the Bruins up the ice and passed across to Marchand, who made a studder stop move to fool Alexei Emelin and then fed a trailing Dougie Hamilton to get the Bruins within one.
“The main thing is you’ve just got to drive wide with speed, and if you do that then you’re either going to get around their [defensemen] or he’s going to cut you off,” Marchand said. “Once he cuts you off and you turn up you’re going to have room. And you know our [defensemen] are really good at following up the play. Dougie has been playing great lately, so it was good to see him score.”
Just over three minutes later, it was Bergeron who tied the game after Marchand dug the puck out of the boards and flipped it to him for his second goal of these playoffs.
“He’s really shifty,” Bergeron said of Marchand’s play on the score. “He’s got that speed that they think he’s going to try to beat him wide and then he’s got that move that he does so often, but it’s so effective. It was, again, a great play by him.”
Reilly Smith would make sure to join his linemates 2:11 later, as he took a cross ice feed from Torey Krug that gave the Bruins their first lead since Mike Weaver tied the game 1:09 into the second period.
“He’s got the right mentality,” Bergeron said about Smith. “He wants to get better; he wants to be a difference out there. I think even in that [rough] stretch [in the regular season] he was still making the right plays and playing well.
“I love playing with him; he’s always in the right spot making great plays. Right now, he’s played some great hockey”
“[Smith] plays like a veteran, and he’s very calm in those kind of situations,” coach Claude Julien said. “You don’t see him make too many big mistakes because he’s a smart hockey player, and some guys have it. It’s a knack he’s had from the start, and with his experience playing with guys like Bergeron and Marchand, he’s just gotten better.”
In the first two games of the series, this line has been the catalyst for the Bruins’ offense, with Smith scoring two goals, Bergeron having a goal and two assists, and Marchand totaling four assists.
The Bruins and Canadiens now head to the Bell Centre in Montreal for Games 3 and 4; the B’s can grab home-ice back from the Habs with just one win in Montreal.
“We’ve got the resilience in here and I think we’re a confident group being down by a few goals,” Bergeron said. “We definitely don’t want to be in that situation, but when we are we know we can come back in games. When you have that confidence, [more] often than not you’re making the right decisions out there.”