Tim Thomas received a lot of deserved credit for the Boston Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup victory, but he certainly had some help. Beyond Zdeno Chara, his biggest helpers might have been the top line of Nathan Horton, David Krejci and Milan Lucic, even if they slipped under the radar a bit.
Considering that run and the prime ages of those three forwards, it wouldn’t have been crazy to expect a big year from that line. Instead, they’ve struggled mightily to begin the season, leaving CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty to wonder if they’re on the verge of being split up. Here’s Haggerty’s take on their work so far.
Lucic has only six hits in three games and hasn’t been the tower of fire-breathing intimidation he can be when playing with some genuine anger, Krejci has been average at best to start the season after leading the team in playoff goals last year and Horton has been the most absent of the bunch in the early going.
Looking at their simplest numbers, I think that Krejci and Lucic should get their acts together. Krejci has a goal on six shots and Lucic has an assist as well as six shots while Horton has just one shot on goal and zero points.
It’s hard not to wonder if Horton is still a little bit “off” from that notorious Aaron Rome hit. If Bruins head coach Claude Julien opts to break that line up, he might want to move Horton off the line – at least temporarily. The Krecji-Lucic combo fared quite well even in the games following Horton’s injury, after all.
It’s only three games, but NHL coaches are known for tweaking their line combos. If their slow start festers into a funk, it might be best for Julien to forget their prosperous past.