Why Bruce Cassidy broke up Bruins since-reunited first line of Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak

Matt Kalman
December 07, 2019 - 12:03 pm

For about a game and a half – the Bruins’ win against Carolina and overtime loss to Chicago this week – Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have played on separate lines.

Pastrnak has been a regular on the right side of David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Marchand, who has gone season-long four games without a goal, has been with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen.

Typically when Patrice Bergeron is healthy centering Marchand and Pastrnak, coach Bruce Cassidy might break them up in-game but then reunite them to start the next game. The Near Perfect Line of Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak didn’t get such a reunion on Thursday, and Cassidy explained why Saturday after Boston’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena in preparation for the evening game against Colorado at TD Garden:

“Well obviously Marshy has more experience playing with Bergy, and I think Bergy is a guy that knows Marshy better than anybody in the National Hockey League, so he can get him back on track if Marshy starts gravitating away,” Cassidy said. “Whereas Krech doesn’t have that relationship, I think he has more of it with David Pastrnak. He’s grown it with DeBrusk. So that’s one of the reasons typically I’ll go back.

“They’re going to start together tonight, those three, see where it leads. I just think Krech and Bergy have different attributes even though they’re both excellent center-ice men. I just think Bergy has that relationship with Marsh that allows them to get themselves back in sync quicker because of that.”

According to Natural Stat Trick, the Marchand-Coyle-Heinen line has played 26:52 together 5-on-5 and has a Corsi For of 56 percent. That line’s been on the ice for one goal for, one goal against.

Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak has been together for 77:22 at even strength and outscored opponents 6-2 with a Corsi For of 42 percent.

Cassidy said that one forward will be a game-time decision, but Brett Ritchie will return either way, and the lines should look like this:

Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Coyle-Heinen

Bjork-Lindholm-Ritchie

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

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