With four Selke Trophies already on his loaded resume, Patrice Bergeron is no stranger in going toe-to-toe with some of the most dynamic lines in the NHL — with the B’s center often tasked with taking draws against the likes of Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, John Tavares and Auston Matthews while shutting down some potent forward trios.
It’s that two-way ability that has lifted Boston’s top line of Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak into the conversation as the best forward group in the league, with the trio just as prone to lighting up an opposing defense as it is stymieing scoring chances down the other end of the ice.
Wednesday will mark the latest challenge for the Bergeron line — with the group poised to go up against an Avalanche trio that’s doing its best to steal the spotlight from the Boston’s top forwards.
Anchored at the pivot by Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado’s top line has the speed and size to find twine early and often, and they have the numbers to prove it.
So far this season, the Avs’ line of MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen have tallied 28 goals and 69 points through 17 games — with the Bergeron line following suit with 31 goals and 68 points.
Wednesday’s tilt at the Pepsi Center will feature plenty of firepower, with all six forwards ranking in the top 25 in scoring in the NHL — headlined by Rantanen (26 points - tied for 1st) and Bergeron (25 points - 3rd).
"They're an amazing line, they're playing with amazing pace and tempo, but also making great plays," Bergeron said Tuesday. "Obviously they have a good team over there, playing hard. We saw that last year against them. They're young with lots of energy, so it's going to be a tough matchup, for sure.”
He added: "They seem to be making a lot of plays in tight, a lot of bang-bang, tic-tac-toes, and stuff like that. “Obviously they get open for one another and seem to find each other pretty well.”
With both lines expected to earn heavy minutes against one another on Wednesday, which trio has the edge when it comes to staking the claim as the top triumvirate in the league?