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Fourth Line Fires Up Bruins in Victory

The Bruins fourth line notches a pair of goals as the B's defeat the Islanders 5-1

by Michael Tolvo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

NEW YORK - Another game, another multi-goal performance from one of the Bruins four lines.

Against the New York Islanders, it was the high-energy fourth line who brought the fireworks. Whether it was forechecking, body checking, cycling, or defending, the trio of Tim Schaller, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari made an impact seemingly every time they took the ice in the Bruins 5-1 victory on Tuesday. The gritty fourth line finished a combined +5 with eight shots on net and two of the Bruins five goals.

Video: Bruins speak to media after 5-1 win over Islanders

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy noted how valuable their contributions were in the win.

"Heavy down low, forced their D to defend us and takes pucks from us," said Cassidy. "It takes a toll on a team after a while. We saw that going into the third. Good for them and obviously the other lines too but you just saw more out of that line. I was happy for them to get a goal late too to get rewarded."

The rest of the Bruins roster also recognized the impact of the fourth line.

"They give us the energy," said Tuukka Rask after the game. "A lot of times they play in the o-zone and create havoc there. They're just buzzing around and making hits and making plays. And they are getting rewarded too… It's great to see. You need four lines in this league nowadays to contribute and lately we've had that."

While not usually known for their offensive performance, the line has scored a goal in three consecutive games, and their teammates are happy to see the recent uptick in offense.

"They bring a ton of energy every game," said Bruins leading goal scorer Brad Marchand. "They are very consistent. And they've been really hot lately. They've been chipping in for a goal almost every game so it gives us a huge boost knowing that they can play against every single line and that they're great every night."

Video: BOS@NYI: Schaller bats puck in out of midair for goal

Despite the praise, fourth line center Sean Kuraly emphasized the support they've received from their teammates.

"We have a lot of great players in here so we kind of feed off them," said Kuraly. "When we can help and contribute, thats what we're here to do and what our job is, so we're happy to contribute."

The line has excelled by keeping things simple and doing the little things necessary to be successful.

"We just focused on getting pucks to the net, and it's not always going to be pretty," said Kuraly. "The more times puck gets at the net, the more chances it's going to go in. That's our game plan"

Video: BOS@NYI: Acciari pots empty-netter from own blue line

The group knows their success is not always defined by offensive production, but the contribution is highly rewarding for the hard working trio.

"It always feels good when we are able to contribute on the scoreboard," said Kuraly. "We're not always able to contribute on the scoreboard but when we can, it feels good… A lot of it is just playing the game the right way."Video: Marchand, Heinen power Bruins to 5-1 victory

Dominating With Depth

For the fifth consecutive game, at least one of the Bruins four lines scored two or more goals.

Prior to Tuesday's two-goal output from the fourth line, members of the second line (Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and Ryan Spooner) combined to produce three goals on December 30 against the Senators. In the two games preceding the win over the Sens, the third line of Danton Heinen, Riley Nash and David Backes accounted for at least two goals in each of those contests. On December 23 versus the Red Wings, Patrice Bergeron scored a pair for the first line.

"I'm just impressed by the way everyone is contributing," said Bergeron, who had the game-winner against the Islanders. "One night it's going to be one line. The next, someone else will step up and get it done for us. Same thing on the back end or in net.

It doesn't really matter whose back there. Depth is something really important in this league and we have that right now."

While many teams may fail to score two or more goals in five consecutive games, the B's have received that output from just a single line on a nightly basis.

"We had four lines contributing for 60 [minutes]," said Marchand. "Tuukks [Tuukka Rask] was great tonight too. When we play like that as a group, we have all the lines rolling, it's tough to play against."

With production coming from all areas, the team's confidence is soaring.

"We are just confident right now," said Marchand. "Confident in our ability and the group… You see the way that some young guys are stepping up, it just seems like everyone is connecting. Every line has that chemistry and it all starts in the room. We've got a great group of guys in the room and we all get along really well."

That chemistry off the ice is also resulting in success for the B's on the ice.

"When you have a group that is united the way we are, it normally carries over out on the ice," said Marchand. "You see all the best teams, all the teams that win every year, they're so close off the ice and it just translates into your game. That's kind of the way it is in this room right now. It's a lot of fun to see and be a part of and it's just enjoyable to come to the rink every day."

Other observations form the Bruins 5-0 win over the Islanders on Tuesday night:

Stellar Stopping: Tuukka Rask extended his career-long points streak to 12 games. The Finnish goaltender has been stellar during the streak, notching an 11-0-1 record, a stifling 1.20 Goals Against Average and a .956 Save Percentage.

Rask attributes much of his success to the sound defensive play of the team.

"We just have layers. We keep things tight offensive zone, neutral zone and in our own end. Not a whole lot of room to make plays for the opposing team."

Video: BOS@NYI: Rask turns away multiple shots from Eberle 

Marchand's Milestone: When Patrice Bergeron corralled a flying puck and managed to bank it in off Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak, Brad Marchand was credited with his 18th assist of the season. The helper also marked the Halifax-native's 200th career NHL assist.

Marchand's point totals after 564 career games now stand at 208-200=408.

Video: BOS@NYI: Bergeron scores on Halak from behind the net

Pasta Finds the Scoresheet: While he was unable to capitalize on a few prime scoring chances, David Pastrnak still dazzled with an assist on Brad Marchand's goal in the third period. On a 2-on-1, Pastrnak froze the defender with some quick stick work before whipping the puck through the slot to the waiting Marchand, who buried it into the open frame.'

Cassidy was happy to see Pastrnak's creativity back on display.

"Great play," said Cassidy. "He has that ability to freeze guys. That pass he makes across with the sort of toe-drag move, it looks like he's going to shoot. He had some good looks. He had some chances tonight. I was very pleased that he made that play.

Video: BOS@NYI: Marchand roofs wrister on Pastrnak's feed

Streak Over: On a night when the Bruins extended a number of streaks, another impressive one fell. Entering Tuesday's game, the Bergeron line had yet to allow a goal at even strength. It took until game 38, but the streak was finally broken, albeit on an unorthodox goal.

Bergeron won the face straight back, however, a miscommunication between the two defenseman led to Jordan Eberle netting the Islanders only goal of the night.

"Should have lost the draw. Maybe we would have been better off," Cassidy said jokingly after the game. "Well what are you going to do? It's going to happen sooner or later. No line goes through a whole year…An unfortunate way to get scored on but that's hockey sometimes."

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