Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille were promoted, a struggling Milan Lucic was essentially demoted, and the Bruins skated with four completely new lines during a Sunday morning practice at the TD Garden.
Brad Marchand – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Daniel Paille – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin
Milan Lucic – Rich Peverley – Jordan Caron
Jay Pandolfo – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Asked what went into the change, coach Claude Julien said, “Because I can. Because I’m the coach. And every once in a while you have to do those things. It’s as simple as that.”
Julien kept repeating the team’s scoring output during a four game road trip in which the Bruins found the net just six times, going 1-3 during the stretch.
The crafty Marchand, who leads the Bruins with 13 goals, joins another creative player in Krejci as the two will try to spark Horton, who has scored just once in 13 games during the month of March.
“Obviously, we lost three out of four games, so we’ll change it up a little bit and hopefully that’s going to help,” said Krejci, who had previously voiced confidence in Lucic and Horton skating along side him. “I think we looked good out there this morning. Obviously we don’t have much chemistry, particularly with March or Looch with the other line, or Paille with Bergy’s line. But I thought we looked pretty good this morning so hopefully it’s going to work tomorrow.”
Lucic, who has scored four goals in 29 games this season, may fit in nicely with Peverley and Caron, another big body who likes to cause havoc in the crease.
Paille, who has six goals and five assists while primarily skating with Campbell and Thornton, gets the promotion to the second line that could be one of the fastest in the NHL.
“Speed, a lot of speed,” Bergeron said of Paille. “And he’s a great player. I think a lot of times he’s underestimated. People think he’s a fourth-line player, but he’s not.
“He has a nose for the net as well. He’s a smart guy with the puck and defensively he’s very sound. Those are a lot of things that can help our line, we just need to find some chemistry together.”
Johnny Boychuk, who missed Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs with a right foot injury, was again held out of practice. Julien said the defenseman is still day-to-day.
Also missing Adam McQuaid, Julien said he was pleased with the efforts of fill-in blue-liners Aaron Johnson and Matt Bartkowski.
Ryan Spooner, the 21-year-old center who was called up to the Bruins when Krejci got hurt and registered 15:29 of ice time in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Winnipeg, was returned to Providence. Julien said Spooner played well between Lucic and Horton, but didn’t quite fit in when slotted back on the third line with Peverley and Pandolfo.
The new-look Bruins host the Maple Leafs on Monday at 7 p.m. Tukka Rask is expected to be in net.