Danton Heinen has spent time on all four Bruins lines, but come the third round, he has settled into the same line he occupied last year.
The Bruins are much better off.
A team that lacked secondary scoring last season has received 11 goals and 17 assists in 15 playoff games from its third line of left wing Marcus Johansson, center Charlie Coyle and Heinen on the right wing. The line has outshot opponents, 4-1, at even strength and was on the ice for two goals in Sunday’s 6-2 victory in Game 2 at TD Garden.
“The Charlie Coyle line, right now,” said coach Bruce Cassidy, “creates a big problem for the other team.”
None have been on the ice for a goal against, as Boston has outscored Carolina 11-4 in two games.
Heinen’s production in Game 2 — a goal and an assist in 14:38 — was nothing to shrug off, but his linemates were on fire. Coyle registered a career-high three assists and won 12 of 15 draws (80 percent) in just 14:02. Johansson had a pair of primary assists in 13:13.
“Those two are feeling it,” Heinen said of his linemates after riding the left side of David Backes and Riley Nash last year. “They’re fun to watch. They’re creating chemistry. I think I can be better for them. They’re such smart players.”
Heinen’s defense is a critical asset, meshing exceptionally well with the big, puck-protecting Coyle and Johansson’s David Krejci-like playmaking skills. Johansson said he has received texts from “a couple” of his old Washington Capitals teammates, encouraging him on his postseason run with the Bruins.
“It just gets more fun every day,” said Johansson, who is playing in the third round for the first time of his career. “We’ve got a long way to go, but I think we’re on the right path.”
Torey Krug’s three assists were impressive enough — he joined elite company among Bruins defensemen — but he was just as proud of his defensive effort.
Krug and partner Brandon Carlo silenced Carolina’s top line of Teuvo Teravainen , Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov in Game 2. The line did not get a shot attempt together and allowed seven (six shots on net).
“Yeah it’s been a good matchup for us,” said Krug, who leads the Bruins with a 75.6 percent shot attempts share (34 for, 11 against). “A lot of fun, for sure. I think we’ve limited their odd-man rush opportunities and I think that’s been a strength of not only our defensive pairing, and that line, but our team in general.
“If we can squash this line in the neutral zone and really limit their chances off the rush then it doesn’t allow them to get any momentum going. Then, in the defensive zone, it’s just clamping down on time and space. It’s what we talk about all the time.”
Krug became the fifth Bruins defenseman with a pair of three-assist playoff games. Krug, who also did it in Game 2 against Toronto last year, joined mentor Ray Bourque and Bobby Orr (five times each), Brad Park (three) and Carol Vadnais (two).
In his second-period dustup with Justin Williams, Brad Marchand was shown holding his thumb and forefinger against his chest, in the shape of a “C.” He was apparently mocking Carolina’s captain for losing his composure.
Marchand, smiling, didn’t want to say much about it afterward. In Williams’s view, “C” stood for “commode.” His take on the loss:
“Sometimes you’ve got to eat a poop sandwich,” Williams said. “It doesn’t taste good, but you have to chew on it for a little bit. We’ll have to do it for a couple of days and get the taste out of our mouth the next game.”
Williams, 37, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, was “disappointed” in himself for taking a retaliation holding penalty — he undid Marchand’s chinstrap — after referees missed Marchand hooking him down.
“I’ve just got to know better,” Williams said. “I’m old enough, I should be able to know better.”
Toronto tried to skate past the Bruins. Columbus tried to batter them. Carolina is a mixture of both, and so far, the B’s have had little trouble playing any style their playoff opponent presents.
“Whatever game’s out there, we’re going to play it,” Cassidy said, pointing to the talent level of his group as the primary reason.
“We can skate with anybody. I think when we’re on our game and skating, I think we’re as good as any skating team in this league. We have physical players sprinkled throughout our lineup that can deliver the hits, and we have the Matt Grzelcyks of the world.”
By that, he meant those who don’t bring sledgehammers to work, but smart players who can skate, and bounce back from hits. Jake DeBrusk, Krug, Johansson and Heinen would be in that category. It is a winning formula.
“We have so many good players,” Johansson said. “Anyone can play with anybody . . . Everybody makes it so easy on you. You just go out there and play.”
Had Grzelcyk scored, he would have become the second Bruins defenseman to register a playoff hat trick. The other — Bobby Orr (1971) — waved the Black and Gold banner before the game. On Mother’s Day 49 years ago, Orr flew through the air as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup . . . The other B’s postseason hat tricks came from David Pastrnak (2018) and David Krejci (2013, 2011). Charlie McAvoy, on seeing his fellow BU Terrier score twice: “They just breed studs there.”