PHILADELPHIA - After over a decade of dominance as Boston's dynamic top-line duo, it should hardly come as a surprise when Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand pace the Bruins to victory.
But during Tuesday night's crucial 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center, the pair came through with a performance worthy of the record books - literally.
Bergeron potted his sixth career hat trick and also picked up the 900th point of his NHL career on his first goal of the night. Boston's captain became just the fourth player in club history to reach that mark, joining Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, and Phil Esposito.
On Monday night in Boston, the 35-year-old surpassed Rick Middleton for sole possession of fourth place on the B's all-time scoring list with his 899th career point.
Video: BOS@PHI: Bergeron opens the scoring with 900th point
Marchand, meanwhile, continued his shorthanded supremacy with the winning shorty at 8:21 of the third. It was his 29th career shorthanded goal, extending his club record. The winger also set a new record as the tally was his 48th career shorthanded point, propelling him past Eddie Westfall and Bobby Orr for the top spot in Bruins history.
"It certainly was tonight, and it is most every night," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of the duo's leadership pulling the Bruins along. "One's the captain, one's the assistant. They're elite players in the league, they're always talked about when it comes to leadership in Boston and throughout the league and awards in the league.
"Tonight, they were clearly our two best forwards. [Craig] Smith has done a good job alongside them, trying to read off them, feed off them. I can't say enough about them, they were obviously difference makers tonight, and we needed it."
Video: BOS@PHI: Marchand tucks it home through the five hole
One of Boston's other longest-tenured players also factored in huge during the victory. After missing 20 games as he recovered from discomfort in his surgically repaired knee, Kevan Miller returned to the lineup and helped lead the way for Boston's battered back end.
The veteran blue liner played 22:25 in the win, second only to Jeremy Lauzon's 24:09, and landed two hits with two blocked shots. Miller also picked up four minutes in penalties, one of which came during a heated exchange with Travis Konecny in the third period.
"Very well for us, you can see it," Cassidy said of how Miller fared. "He had good composure with the puck, which is something we've been preaching and something we've asked some of our less-experienced players to try to play at the right pace but recognize when you have time to play the right play and make the right read.
"Obviously late in the game, third period with a lead, he's a type of guy that's going to do the right thing, be in the right spot. Thought he was physical when he needed to be, as advertised, so it was really nice to have him back in the lineup."
Miller's experience was an even more important on Tuesday night due to the absence of Charlie McAvoy, who sat out with an upper-body injury. Cassidy did not have an update on Boston's top blue liner following the game, other than to say that he is considered "day-to-day."
Video: Cassidy Addresses Media After 4-2 Win Over Flyers
Chris Wagner also made his return to the lineup after sitting out five straight games as a healthy scratch. He was back in his familiar fourth-line, right-wing spot alongside Sean Kuraly and Trent Frederic and even took a shift with Bergeron and Marchand in the closing minutes, earning an assist on Bergeron's empty-netter.
"Well, I've used other people in the past, and Chris deserved it," Cassidy said of playing Wagner with the top line in a critical end-of-game setting. "He deserved to play in that situation. He'd been doing a good job for us throughout the game. And obviously he has killed penalties…and 6-on-5 is a bit of that mentality, so willing to block a shot, do what it takes to keep a puck out of the net.
"I was happy for him too, and I'm sure he felt better contributing a little bit more in those circumstances. Protecting a lead is where he can help us. He did a good job with Bergy and March."
Video: BOS@PHI: Bergeron caps off hat trick on empty netter