The Bruins third line: Better late than never.


May 6, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins forward

Rich Peverley

(49) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs during game three of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the Air Canada Centre. Boston defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

From day one in the beginning of this abbreviated season, it has been clear to a lot of us in the Nation that our third line has been our weakest line. Throughout the season, the Boston Bruins have used the third line as more of a talent merry-go-round. Various players from both the Providence and Boston squads have done their time in that line. Some of those players were there to fill in holes for injuries, and others were there to hopefully spark success.

For the most part, the staples in the third line have been Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly.  The Kelly line has its ups and mostly downs as they have tried to find that third person. “We’ve played together for a while now, we know what one another’s strengths are, how to work with one another.” said Kelly during the Monday morning skate before Game three. Hopefully that continues.” It looks like that it will with Claude Julien‘s newest pick to be on the third line, Jaromir Jagr.

Jaromir Jagr has been a staple in the National Hockey League for decades. He brings a puck management skill to the team that is unmatched by anyone on the squad. While Jagr is unquestionably still an elite player,(even at 41) a lot of fans have wondered why Jagr would be sent down all the way to the third line. “Our first two lines have been together for a long time.”offered Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “They’re playing well, they’re generating [chances], so right now it’s about trying to build some chemistry with some players and we keep trying to find players to complement him.”

While last night’s 5-2 win over Toronto was another showcase of the Leafs taking a ride on the Krejci train, the third line produced in its own right. Nearly six minutes into the second period, Jaromir Jagr was battling behind the Toronto net when he was able to make a great steal off of Leafs’ defenseman Ryan O’Byrne. As Jagr swung around the back right side of the net, he saw his wingman Peverley coming up on James Reimer and sent him the puck. Rich Peverley chipped it in, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead.

“Sometimes there’s instant chemistry with guys, some it takes time,” said Peverley, on playing with Jagr. “Kells[Kelly] and I have played together a long time. I think Jags is such a great player. For myself, I’ve just got to play my game and use my speed, take pucks to the net, that’s when I’m at my best. If I’m doing that, hopefully everything else will work with the other guys.”

This new third line looks like it is going to be Julien’s new “permanent” line for the remainder of the postseason. They are finding their stride, and are already finding the chemistry which has been so prevalent in the Bruins’ other three lines. As long as the Bruins play to their strengths, and avoid the box we could see Kelly, Peverley, and Jagr hoisting the Stanley Cup for Boston in a few weeks time.