The line of Nikolay Kulemin, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey began to atone for their sins of Games 1 and 2.
The line, which was so ineffective they were broken up midway through the Isles' 3-1 loss on Friday, reunited and chipped in a big effort when it mattered most to help the team to an overtime triumph in Game 3.
Nelson and Bailey had the assists on Thomas Hickey's game winner, with Nelson sending a beautiful, blind, backhanded centering feed from behind the net to set it up.
This line was getting ridden by the fans all night. Every time they hit the ice, people moaned in displeasure. And coming into the night, it was well deserved. It was by far and away the weakest line in the opening games of the series, leading to a line shuffle midway through Game 2, and they needed a big effort to justify keeping one or all of them in the lineup. They certainly did just that.
Let's start with Bailey, who was the unsung hero on the game winner. He won a key battle on the boards to get Nelson the puck. Nelson, of course, sent a beautiful feed to Hickey for the game winner. And Kulemin made the whole thing happen by firing a shot on net from up high, forcing Luongo to make a tough save through traffic, and eventually creating the chance down low.
Each forward had two shots on net in their 16-to-18 minutes on the ice. And give Nelson credit for improving in the circle. He lost a few big defensive zone draws, but he was 9-for-18 (50 percent) for the night, which was a massive improvement over the 25.6 percent he combined for in Games 1 and 2 (7-for-18 in Game 1, 1-for-10 in Game 2).
Was it perfect form out of this line? No, but they were much, much better. Hopefully it will be the jolt they need, as they raise their game for the reminder of the series.