By: Gayle Troiani | Follow me on Twitter @LadyBruinsFan
Watching the Bruins’ third line of Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle, and Trent Frederic is reminiscent of the Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton line from 2011, which impacted Boston’s Stanley Cup win over the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.
Coyle is not quite the matrix-style of player Krejci is, but he is the puck handler that drives the play, just like Krejci did in 2011 and continues to do this season. Frederic is your bruiser of the line, the player who can drop the gloves when his linemates need protection or change the momentum. He may not score 30 goals as Lucic did in 2011, but he can certainly light the lamp. And finally, there’s Hall, the former Hart Trophy winner that wants the puck and is in the middle of a resurgent season (13 goals and 17 assists) and is on pace to score 55 points which is a tad more than the 53 Horton recorded in 2011.
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In 2011, one of the reasons the Bruins were so successful was Claude Julien’s ability to roll out four lines, and Jim Montgomery has that luxury this season, especially when you look at the third line alone, which most experts call the “best” third line in the NHL. Coyle and Hall are averaging a little more than 16 minutes of ice time, and Frederic is just under 12 minutes. In addition, Coyle and Frederic see minutes on the penalty kill, and Hall is a prominent factor on the second power-play unit.
Ironically, the Krejci line of 2011 was considered the second line to Patrice Bergeron’s line with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, while Chris Kelly centered the third line of Rich Peverly and Michael Ryder. Comparing Kelly’s line to Coyle’s line is how the comparison to Krejci’s line seems more accurate. The Kelly line of 2011 was a more typical checking line with some flashes of offense, but with the Coyle line, they are a threat offensively and can shut down the opposing team’s offense with their defensive prowess.
In the 2021-2022 season, Coyle potted 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points while being a -6. This season, Coyle has registered 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 45 games and is a +15. Likewise, Frederic has already eclipsed his 2021-2022 season total of eight goals with ten goals in 42 games and has tied his career-high 18 points.
The Bruins will look to extend their four-game winning streak when they face the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden Sunday night. The Sharks currently sit seventh in the Pacific Division with 37 points and are 3-4-3 in their last ten games. Hall has had the most success against the Sharks, scoring 14 goals and 17 assists in 35 games. Coyle has registered eight points in his 25 games against San Jose, while Frederic has been held scoreless in four games.
Boston (36-5-4) has a 12-point lead over second-place Carolina and a +77 goal differential. However, they don’t have that record without solid play from all four lines and outstanding goaltending from Linus Ullmark (24-2-1) and Jeremy Swayman (11-3-3).