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Stanley Cup Final

Bruins' fourth line on roll entering Game 2 of Cup Final against Blues

Nordstrom, Kuraly, Acciari bring to mind group that helped Boston win championship in 2011

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins have seen their faith in the fourth line rewarded during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a trend they hope continues in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Center Sean Kuraly scored the go-ahead goal at 5:21 of the third period in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series, with left wing Noel Acciari getting the primary assist. Acciari, Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom also helped neutralize the Blues' top line of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko after it scored twice in the first 21 minutes of the game.

The play of the fourth line has been reminiscent of how Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. The "Merlot Line" was named for the color of its practice jerseys.

 

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"The guys that are on the team that were on that team have been talking about it," Nordstrom said. "You know we just do whatever we can every night to help the team. And obviously we got a couple bounces [Monday] night, but we just try to play really solid and responsibly and if we keep playing the right way we're going to get chances. Might not go in every night, but it's nice to see, like [Monday] night, the puck go in."

Boston initially matched its top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak against Schwartz, Schenn and Tarasenko before the Blues took a 2-0 lead.

"They made us pay," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "So, we just went a different direction, in terms of Kuraly tends to play a straight-line game, a little more physical, so we thought that might be a better fit."

Nordstrom, Kuraly and Acciari, who have combined for 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in the postseason, have matched the "Merlot Line" in every way except practice jersey color (they wear black), having a line name (they don't) and a championship. With three more wins, that list will be down to two.

"They won a Stanley Cup and they talk about it all the time, 'You guys are similar to the 'Merlot Line,'" Acciari said. "It's flattering for us and we're going to try to carry on that legacy." 

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