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Bergeron, Marchand Team Up In Bruins Win Over Stars

Dynamic duo connects for three goals as Boston closes out 3-1-0 road trip

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

DALLAS - David Backes has, at numerous times throughout his first season with the Bruins, remarked on the impressive nature at which Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand conduct themselves both on and off the ice.

Intermittently through the Bruins' first 50-plus games, Backes rode alongside the duo as their right wing. But for Boston's last seven contests, the hulking winger has had a permanent front-row seat to what is, perhaps, the best tandem in hockey.

"I've said it since I got here, those guys have some special chemistry in how they support each other and know where each other are," said Backes, whose main goal is to provide his linemates with some time and space. "They're still communicating out there, where each other are, the way they find each other and work together, it's really special.

"We're clicking right now. Not just our line, plenty of guys are contributing to wins, not just all on the scoresheet, doing the little things. It's winning hockey and we need to keep this going."

The Bruins did exactly that Sunday afternoon. Bergeron and Marchand with help from Backes, led the way, combining for three goals, as Boston closed out its four-game road trip with a 6-3 win over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

"We were getting the bounces," said Bergeron, who had two goals and an assist. "It doesn't always go your way, but this afternoon was one of those days where we were getting those looks, generating some chances off of us moving our feet, but also feeding off each other.

"I thought David Backes made some amazing plays just to create some space for us and obviously got us going with that fight [off the opening faceoff]. Overall, it was a good game by us."

Video: Bergeron, Marchand lead Bruins past Stars, 6-3

The stellar performance from the Bergeron line helped the Bruins secure a 3-1-0 record on their four-game Western Conference road swing. Boston has now won six of seven games since Bruce Cassidy took over as interim head coach and nine of their last 12 overall to move into third place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points.

"I think we showed a lot of character during that road trip," said Bergeron, who was 10 for 13 at the face-off dot. "It's not an easy trip. We're playing some big, heavy teams and a fast team with a lot of skill today. It wasn't easy by any means and I thought we battled through it.

"Losing that game in Anaheim, then right back and bouncing back against L.A. with a big win there. This afternoon, it's an early game, it's a different kind of routine for everyone and we all showed up and had a good game."

Bergeron's line got the start against Dallas and set the tone from the drop of the puck - literally. Backes accepted an invitation from Jamie Benn and dropped the gloves with the Stars' captain off the opening draw, providing a jolt of energy, which the Bruins fed off of in the early going.

With Backes in the box, David Pastrnak was reunited with Bergeron and Marchand (goal, two assists) and the trio capitalized. Pastrnak took the puck behind the Dallas net and brushed off a couple of defenders, before finding Bergeron.

Bergeron then slipped a slick pass across the slot to Marchand, who roofed it for his 26th goal of the season and 1-0 Boston lead at 5:56 of the first.

Video: BOS@DAL: Marchand buries Bergeron's no-look feed

"The last 30-40 games, he's been playing extremely well," Marchand said of Bergeron. "We knew that was going to happen. At times, guys go through slumps, but Bergy's way too good of a player to not dominate in this game.

"You see that again. This whole road trip he played well. It's great to have him playing like that and fun to watch."

After Dallas overcame a 2-0 deficit to knot the score midway through the second, Frank Vatrano put the Bruins back in the lead with a tip of a Kevan Miller shot. Just 40 seconds later, the Bergeron-Marchand connection was back at it.

Bergeron won a faceoff back to Zdeno Chara, who fed Marchand along the half-wall. Marchand then threw one on net and Bergeron, planted in front, deflected it past Kari Lehtonen for a 4-2 advantage at 15:21.

"For the most part this year we've been able to bounce back when we're scored against or when we're down by a goal or give up a lead," said Marchand, who has 17 goals and 16 assists for 33 points in his last 21 games. "Right now we're just playing with that much confidence that we seem unfazed when things don't go right.

"We're able to bounce back in big situations. Frank did a great job to get that goal back for us to get us a lead."

Video: BOS@DAL: Bergeron tips Marchand's shot past Lehtonen

Bergeron potted his second of the game at 7:48 of the third, giving the Bruins a convincing 5-2 lead. Marchand took a feed from Torey Krug through the neutral zone and sped down the right wing. He then cut to the middle, dangled through a Dallas defenseman, spun around and found Bergeron charging into the Stars end from the Boston bench.

With Backes providing a screen in front, Bergeron beat Lehtonen with a shot from the slot for his first multi-goal game this season.

"Right from the get-go I thought we were creating a lot of chances in our zone and using our speed," said Bergeron, who had a team-high five shots on goal in 17 minutes, 16 seconds of ice time. "Brad was finding me a lot for great plays, great looks. I was trying to put the puck on net as much as possible. When they're going in, sometimes you try not to think too much and put the puck on net."

Video: BOS@DAL: Bergeron roofs feed for his second goal

Bergeron, who missed the season's first three games with an injury, acknowledged that after a slow start he has been feeling much more like himself since Christmas. The alternate captain has six goals and 11 assists for 17 points over his last 12 games, after registering just 18 points over his first 46 games.

"When your best players are your best players, you're a good hockey club," said Cassidy. "We're no different than any other team that way. [Bergeron's] really found his game and hopefully he stays hot for us."

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