Boston Bruins Enjoying Early Contributions from Third Line

By Casey Drottar
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

All offseason, we’ve heard about a couple of forward lines for the Boston Bruins that were subject to some notable changes.

There was the team’s first line, formerly consisting of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton. Horton, however, jumped ship and signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent. He has since been replaced with former Calgary Flames great Jarome Iginla.

Before that, the Bruins traded Tyler Seguin off to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson and a few prospects. Since then, Bruins fans have been debating over whether or not Eriksson is an upgrade on Seguin’s former line, featuring Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

While these two lines stole the stories all summer, its Boston’s third line that has been seeing the significant success early in the regular season. Ironically, it was partly pieced together thanks to the aforementioned trade with the Stars.

Along with Seguin, the Bruins also sent third line grinder Rich Peverley to Dallas as well. And one of the prospects who accompanied Eriksson to Boston, Reilly Smith, has taken Peverley’s place alongside assistant captain Chris Kelly. Carl Soderberg was set to open the season as Kelly’s other winger, however a bum ankle has him sidelined. Soderberg’s injury opened the door for Jordan Caron, who’s been attempting to be a steady presence on the Bruins for more than a few seasons now.

Two games in, and Boston’s least publicized line is contributing the most.

Since the puck dropped for the Bruins’ opening night game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the third line has shown excellent on-ice chemistry. If you tabbed Kelly as the first Bruin to score this season, you’re either related to him or lying. Though it was on a penalty shot, picked up while on a penalty kill, getting Kelly going is huge for Boston. His struggles last season had a major effect on the lack of success the third line saw, especially after he signed a large contract the year before.

Caron should’ve been given his first goal of the year that night, too. However, the refs made an absolutely awful call when they lost sight of the puck — which was nowhere near contained by Lightning goalie Anders Lindback — right before Caron put it in net. The play was blown dead, and Caron was robbed.

He wouldn’t wait long on a second chance, as he scored a no-doubter against the Detroit Red Wings in Boston’s next game. His goal was beautifully set up by Smith, who collected a loose puck that had Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard scrambling. Instead of taking a shot, he sent a slick backhand to Caron, who quickly sent it past Howard.

Again, Caron wasn’t even expected to be on the ice opening night. However, of all three players, he’s playing with the most fire. Its as if he feels he’s down to his last shot with Boston, and as a result is playing with a very noticeable intensity.

A consistent healthy scratch, a “prospect” piece in a trade highlighting another player and a center who many thought wasn’t earning his new contract. This is what makes up Boston’s hottest line at the moment. Its way too early in the year to assume this pace will be maintained by Kelly, Caron and Smith. That said, if this line can stay consistent, and the team’s two marquee lines live up to expectations, the Bruins quickly become an incredibly balanced team offensively.

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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