At Boston Bruins practice one day after being defeated 2-1 by the Washington Capitals, tying the series at two apiece and forcing at least a game six (time still to be determined), there has been a big change-up in the forward lines.
Note how each line has at least one under-performing regular-season star. Except for the Merlot Line, all of them have under-performers paired up with guys who have actually produced some offense this series. This must be an attempt to light a fire under some of the Bruins. As for slipping Marchand in with Campbell and Thornton, that could be with the goal of injecting the little ball of hate’s potential for physicality onto a line already known for dropping the gloves if need be.
Changing the chemistry of the lines may also lead to changes in play style. Net-front presence has been a huge issue in this series so far–and was addressed during practice drills, along with winning puck battles.
Coach Claude Julien said that these changes are about trying to find a spark followed by some solutions. There is some internal frustration among the team and he recognizes that there are guys who can do better.
(To which I’m sure most fans are thinking things like “Obviously!”)
We will see if these line changes will pay out dividends this weekend.