Bruins

Bergeron Line vs. Point Line: Who has the edge in Thursday’s heavyweight bout?

(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s a luxury that few coaches in the NHL can say that they have.

But for the small crop of bench bosses that can turn to a game-changing, dominant mega-line night in, night out — compacting so much talent and offensive punch in one unit can also bring its fair share of issues, as hard as it is to believe.

There are only a choice few forward trios that come to mind when it comes to “mega-line” status.

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak.
Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen.
Draisaitl-McDavid-{insert RW here}. 

And while these lines alone can often tilt the ice in favor of their club with just a couple of dominant shifts together, the case could be made that their teams are better off with the group broken up — spreading the scoring wealth across the depth chart, as opposed to keeping it in its current top-heavy configuration. 

From the Bruins’ perspective, the rationale is certainly there when it comes to fracturing the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak group — given the club’s inconsistent offensive output on both the second and third lines.

But that doesn’t mean that Bruce Cassidy is going to budge. 

“I've had one here for years, so I'm a fan of it, clearly,” Cassidy said of teams opting to keep these mega-lines intact.  “I think everyone coaching will probably have to manage their personnel with how they see it. Well, what's the residual effect?

“For us, I think we've built the bottom of our lineup very well, we're just kind of trying to find those middle pieces that work well together. We have moved Pasta off that top line at times, but generally speaking, I bet he's 90% with that (first) line. I just feel that when they're on, they can dominate and build energy for the rest of the group.”

It looks like Jon Cooper and the Tampa Bay Lightning have taken a page out of Cassidy’s book in that regard — and have set the stage for a primetime heavyweight bout Thursday night at TD Garden.