Redemption for Bergeron, Marchand in Bruins win at Carolina

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Photo credit James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Great players redeem themselves when they mess up a play or have an off night.

That was never truer than in the Bruins’ 3-2 win at Carolina on Tuesday.

For the second straight game, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was beaten more often than victorious in at the faceoff dots Tuesday. He went 12-for-30, including 6-for-19 against Jordan Staal. Both Hurricanes goals were the direct result of a Bergeron faceoff loss.

Left wing Brad Marchand took a silly slashing penalty away from the puck 4:55 into the second period, postponing the resurgence of the Bruins’ offense, which went more than 100 minutes over the course of three games without a goal against a goaltender.

But Bergeron and Marchand are two thirds of the best line in hockey – regardless of who their right wing is – because mistakes are just small bumps on the road to eventual redemption and spectacular plays.

By the time the Bruins were done securing their two standings points in Raleigh, Marchand had two goals and Bergeron had three assists.

The “Bergeron & Marchand Show” started late in the second period with the Bruins on the first of consecutive power plays. The Bruins allowed four shorthanded shots on net over the course of 60 minutes, but Bergeron denied Warren Foegele a shot attempt with a frenetic back check and stole the puck. Not one to rest on an amazing defensive play, Bergeron sent Marchand down the ice with a saucer pass to the far blue line and Marchand finished the play with a wrist shot from the left dot inside the far post to tie the score 2-2 with 18 seconds left in the period.

That Bergeron pass is RIDICULOUS.

— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) October 31, 2018

The game-winning goal was more of a one-man effort by Marchand, but required a subtle play by Bergeron to get off and running. Marchand lost a faceoff in the defensive zone after Bergeron was thrown out of the draw. But Bergeron took out his frustration with a strong forecheck along the wall and forced a giveaway that Marchand turned into an end-to-end wraparound goal that made Carolina backchecking forward Justin Williams look like a dolphin trying to get his fish from the trainer without doing his trick.

We can confirm. This is good. #NHLBruins@BMarch63 | #NHLBruins

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 31, 2018

The Bruins have come to expect Bergeron and Marchand to carry them when they’re grasping for offense. What might not have been expected (and the reason for the above caveat about it not mattering who plays on their right wing), was that they did their best work without usual right wing David Pastrnak. For the first time this season coach Bruce Cassidy broke up the line of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak for an extended amount of time. Cassidy made the “line toggle” (as he has taken to calling it) halfway through the second period, and it worked. Right off their first shift Pastrnak, David Krejci and Danton Heinen started building momentum and not long after Pastrnak scored a power-play goal that tied the score 1-1.

Jake DeBrusk found his skating legs and was effective as the first forechecker for Bergeron and Marchand, creating room for the dynamic duo to do their magic once the puck was turned over.

Against the team that went into Tuesday’s game leading the league in shots on net per game (41.5), the Bruins were outshot 44-31. Jaroslav Halak continued his half of the Bruins’ goaltender debate with 42 saves to increase his save percentage to .947. Zdeno Chara, Brandon Carlo and others chipped in with some timely defensive plays.

But Bergeron and Marchand did the most of bury the Bruins’ mistakes, including ones they individually made, and get Boston a bounce-back win three nights after their deflating defeat to Montreal.