Examining Datsyuk vs. Bergeron

The Bergeron vs. Datsyuk showdown has turned this series into a chess match in line matching. Getty Images

The shift to Detroit was supposed to free up Pavel Datsyuk. Get him away from Patrice Bergeron and allow him to work his magic.

Game 3 of the first-round playoff series between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings, however, turned out to be less of a tactical duel in line matching between two of the best coaches in the league, and more about one team completely overwhelming the other regardless of who was on the ice.

If both teams continue to play like they did in the Bruins' 3-0 win Tuesday, the play of two guys won’t make a difference. But if the Red Wings, a team that’s shown resilience all season, can tighten things up, the Datsyuk vs. Bergeron showdown comes back into play. And while it seems counterintuitive on home ice, perhaps keeping Datsyuk away from Bergeron isn’t the best idea.

One of the side effects of getting Datsyuk on the ice against other lines was that Bergeron was freed from Datsyuk -- a Catch-22 when it has come to line matching in this series. And in Game 3, it made a difference.