The Wraparound: Bruins’ top line ‘wants to be better’

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The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down each day’s matchups with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

If the Boston Bruins are going to play themselves back into their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they’re going to need their top players to step their game up in Game 4 (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN; Live stream). The trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have consistently been matched up against Toronto’s top line of John Tavares, Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman. In Game 3, Tavares’ guys clearly got the better of the matchup.

“(Assistant coach Jay Pandolfo) meets with these guys probably every three weeks to 10, 12 games,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, per the Boston Herald. “They like to go over some stuff. They want to get better. They’re real coachable. I think sometimes Bergy has to reel his wingers in and get them back on the same page because things will start to go well or at times not well, which was probably (Monday). We just want to get them back on the same page. I think they like structure, they crave it and that adds to their creativity. This isn’t some five-alarm fire meeting with them. It’s a simple revisiting of basics.”

It’s not like those three have been totally invisible. Bergeron scored in the first two games of the series and Marchand picked up three points in the first two contests, but Pastrnak has just one helper in three contests. Cassidy has tried everything to get Pastrnak going, including sending him on the ice with different lines when his team has an offensive zone start after an icing. But Pastrnak hasn’t really rewarded his team with any production.

The Bruins can’t afford to go back home trailing 3-1 in this series. They have to dig deep and find a way to bully the Maple Leafs into making mental errors. Toronto won more of the 50/50 puck battles in Game 3, and that can’t happen again tonight.

The other issue the Bruins are facing is that Auston Matthews seems to have woken up from his playoff slumber. Even if the Bergeron line steps up their game, they can only match up against one line at a time. But if the top line can find their offensive touch, it would help alleviate a lot of the pressure on the other three lines.

“We’ve found ways pretty much all year and it comes down to that,” Bergeron said. “You’ll face adversity and that’s just the way it is. That’s what hockey is all about, and you have to thrive on it.”

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Game 4: Predators at Stars, 8 p.m. ET (Predators lead 2-1): This series has been as tight as can be, as one of the games has gone to overtime and all three have been decided by one goal. The Stars fell behind 2-0 in Game 3, but found a way to battle back. They can’t afford to chase the game again if they’re going to be successful. Going back to Nashville while facing elimination probably isn’t a good idea for Dallas. This is a must-win for the Stars. (USA Network, Live stream)

Game 4: Flames at Colorado, 10 p.m. ET (Avalanche lead 2-1): Can the Flames stay out of the penalty box? They opened Game 3 by giving the Avs a full two-minute five-on-3 power play, and Nathan MacKinnon made them pay for it. Calgary could also use some production from Johnny Gaudreau, who has just one assist and a minus-2 rating in the first three games of the series. (NBCSN, Live stream)

THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE
Game 4: Capitals at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 5: Blues at Jets, 8:30 p.m. ET (USA Network)
Game 5: Golden Knights at Sharks, 10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

PHT’s 2019 Stanley Cup playoff previews
Capitals vs Hurricanes
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

Predators vs. Stars
Blues vs. Jets
Flames vs. Avalanche
Sharks vs. Golden Knights

Power Rankings: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup
• 
Roundtable: Goaltending issues, challenging the Lightning
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 1 schedule, TV info

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.