Over the past 10 years, the Boston Bruins have won one Stanley Cup and made two other trips to the Cup Finals. Like any team, the Bruins have experienced plenty of ups and downs in the last decade, but the good has decidedly outweighed the bad.
Of course, coaches, general managers and individual player performances play a big role in a team’s success. However, the Bruins have also boasted a handful of memorable, standout lines in that time.
Let’s take a look back at the best lines of the past 10 years. Please note, these are not in any particular order. Every line that made the list contributed greatly to its team’s winning ways, but in a variety of different ways. As a result, it would be difficult, and unfair, to compare one’s particular skill set to that of the others.
The Perfection Line
Any Boston Bruins line that includes Patrice Bergeron is bound to be stellar. However, the combination of Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak that the Bs have rolled out as the first line the past few seasons stands out above the rest.
Most likely because of lingering injuries, this line struggled in the 2019 playoff run. However, they are back with a vengeance so far this season. In fact, Pastrnak is currently leading the league in points, and he and Bergeron both have scored hat tricks on the young season. In addition, Pastrnak and Marchand were named the NHL’s Number One Star in consecutive weeks.
The Merlot Line
This legendary trio definitely showed the league that fourth lines weren’t just for less-skilled players who weren’t afraid to fight for the few precious minutes they got each game. The Merlot line, made up of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, provided a ton of energy and character.
In fact, this line started a tradition of sorts in Boston of quality fourth lines. The next line on the list has carried on that mentality and helped drive the team’s more-recent success.
In the mold of the Merlot line before it, the line that included Sean Kuraly and some combination of Chris Wagner, Noel Acciari and Joakim Nordstrom made quite a name for itself during the 2018-2019 campaign.
The tongue-in-cheek “1a” title was bestowed on this line by first-line winger Brad Marchand during the 2019 playoffs. That was a clear sign that the Kuraly line’s teammates recognized its importance to the team.
During the 2017-2018 season, a fourth line comprised of Kuraly, Acciari and Tim Schaller experienced similar success. It seems as though a Kuraly-centered trio will continue to make big plays in Boston.
Cup Champion Second Line
This line, primarily made up of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic, had a unique combination of brains and brawn. Krejci was, and still is, the quintessential puck-handling maestro with an insane hockey IQ. Lucic, of course, was more of a bull in a China shop. He used his size to intimidate opponents. Lucic never backed away from a fight, but he also contributed huge goals in key situations. Horton was a hybrid of the two.
With this combination of skills, it is not at all hard to see why this line played so well together. They will be long-remembered as one of the major driving forces of the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup victory.