PHILADELPHIA - They had only been a line for some nine hours before they hit the ice at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night.
They had just one morning skate and a warm-up to gain some chemistry.
But after the way they performed during the Bruins' 4-3 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers, you would never know they had played together so sparingly.
The Black & Gold's top line of Danton Heinen, David Backes, and David Pastrnak accounted for all three goals in regulation. The triumvirate combined for seven points on the evening.
And that's not including Heinen's shootout goal, which knotted things at 1 after the second round and set up Jake DeBrusk's heroics in the final round to secure the preseason victory.
"They found each other, they made some nice plays. It's impressive that they seemed to have that chemistry right off the bat," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien, back behind the bench for the first time since returning from the World Cup of Hockey, where he served as an assistant for Team Canada.
"I thought that line with Heinen was very, very good tonight - without a doubt our best."
Video: Claude Julien highlights Bruins' top line vs. Flyers
On the surface, the three don't have very much in common.
Heinen, 21, is in the midst of his first pro training camp, after finishing up his career at the University of Denver back in the spring. Pastrnak - he turned 20 in May - is actually younger than Heinen, but entering his third season with the Bruins.
Backes, on the other hand, has been in the league for 10 years - the last five of which he spent as captain of the St. Louis Blues - and was playing in his first preseason game as Bruin.
That veteran experience was critical to his line on Saturday night.
"A lot of fun playing with those guys, they're such good players," said Heinen, who has now scored a goal in each of his first three preseason contests. "I try to let them do their thing and work hard. It's not that tough to play with those guys.
"Backes talks so much out there, tells you where to be, kind of what he was thinking. And Pasta is just so skilled. Two great players."
It was another step towards feeling at ease for Heinen, who rode the left side for the night.
"Every game I feel a little more comfortable," said Heinen. "I think I was playing with some great players tonight. That made me feel a little more comfortable. I don't know, I'm just going to keep working hard and do what they ask and see what happens."
Heinen got the Bruins on the board just 2:56 into the game. Pastrnak (two goals, one assist) picked up a loose puck high in the offensive zone, before whipping a turn-around shot towards the net. Backes tipped the puck and was originally credited with the goal, but after a review, Heinen was given the goal on a deflection out front to make it 1-0.
Backes was more than impressed with the camp standout.
"The Heinen kid scores a game-tying goal [in the shootout] that's a clutch goal," said Backes, who tallied three assists. "He's counted on in those situations. It's tough at a young age to come through, but he has ice water in his veins and you love seeing that from your teammates."
Video: Backes records three assists in first preseason game
Pastrnak gave the Bruins back the lead just over four minutes into the second. After Backes won a face-off in the offensive zone, Pastrnak skated in from the left face-off circle, dangled around a defenseman, and put a backhand shot through the legs of Flyers goalie Michael Neuvirth for a 2-1 advantage.
"Three players that think the game at a fast level. I'm just trying to get in someone's way and give them a little more time," said Backes. "[That was] the face-off play that we talked about just before the game."
Pastrnak, playing in his first game since returning from the World Cup of Hockey, where he represented the Czech Republic, was at it again later in the period.
After the Bruins fell behind, 3-2, the winger knotted the score with 3:12 to go in the period. Backes won a puck battle at the top of the right circle and threaded a pass over to Pastrnak, who one-timed a laser past Neuvirth.
"It's nice to see David come back and play well," said Julien. "He just shows growth each year. He gets better and stronger, and a much smarter player, too.
"That's all about experience. We're happy with the progress he's made. David Backes was a good complement for him, giving him some experience."
For Backes, it couldn't have been a better start to his Bruins career.
"[Our line was] running hot," said Backes. "It was a great introduction into Bruins hockey."