(Photo Credit: Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean)

By Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis

It doesn’t take an expert to know that chemistry and finding the correct combination of forwards are massive keys to the success of a season. Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery (more so than either of his predecessors) has been more than willing to tinker and toy with his lines, throwing them into the blender at a moment’s notice to try and create a spark for his team. In doing so, he may have stumbled upon his new first line.

Boston stumbled out of the gate following the All-Star break, going 4-4-5 over its next 13 games, culminating in a 5-1 loss to the New York Islanders on March 2nd. Going into March 4th’s matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montgomery decided to deploy a line fans had only seen once before in this season. Since that 4-1 win against Toronto, the line of David Pastrnak, Pavel Zacha, and Danton Heinen have been nothing short of excellent.

Since Pastrnak, Zacha, and Heinen’s unification, the Boston Bruins have played in 15 contests, including last night’s victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. During that stretch, the team is 10-4-1, with measuring-stick wins over the Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals, and red-hot Hurricanes. That stretch has catapulted Boston back into first place in the Atlantic Division and gives them the inside track on clinching home ice through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

If you look at the season in its entirety, Pastrnak, Zacha, and Heinen have played approximately 139 minutes together. Of all forward lines that have played at least 139 minutes, the trio is outscoring opponents 14-4 and ranks first in the NHL in goals for per 60 (6.04) and 5th in goals for percentage (77.8). They aren’t just producing in bulk but also in a timely manner. Over the last 15 games, they have had five game-winning goals and four game-winning assists.

If you want a glimpse into just how dominant this line has been for Boston since its inception, you need to look at each skater’s individual stats over the team’s most recent stretch. In 15 games, Pavel Zacha has 7-12-19, David Pastrnak has 9-10-19, and Danton Heinen has 5-7-12. Pastrnak and Zacha are both in the top 20 in the league in points over this stretch, and Heinen is in the top 75. Long story short, this has been a fantastic move by Jim Montgomery and may have provided the spark necessary to get this team playing its best hockey at the right time.

I don’t know who could’ve predicted the success of this trio (spoiler alert: it was me in an article earlier this year), but I’m just happy the Bruins now have a legitimate scoring line that can create pressure and torment opposing defenses whenever they’re on the ice. If this trio continues their dominance and can sustain their production, they just might be able to propel the Bruins on a deep playoff run.