Change let them cash in
Claude Julien was just trying to find a spark. The Bruins coach knew one way was to make some line changes. So before last night’s game against the Devils, Julien decided to break up the Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand-Tyler Seguin line, and rev up the David Krejci-Milan Lucic line by injecting Seguin’s speed.
“It was one of those situations where we haven’t scored much and somewhere along the way you want to try and find a spark,’’ said Julien. “I thought that would be a good one.’’
Julien’s hunch proved correct in last night’s 4-3 overtime victory before a crowd of 17,565. Krejci broke out of a slump in which he scored goals just twice over his last 14 games - going scoreless in 11, including seven in a row from Feb. 2-15 - with his second career hat trick.
Seguin, too, was looking to break out after scoring just once in his last 14 games. Lucic had three goals during that same stretch.
“I think it was a spark for all three of us to play as a line, and it was great that we were able to get some results tonight,’’ said Lucic.
Krejci scored the game’s first goal on a pretty feed from Segiun at 1:13 of the first period, the tying goal at 5:30 in the third, and the winning goal at 2:59 of OT as the Bruins rebounded from a 1-0 loss to the Senators Tuesday.
When Krejci learned Seguin would be joining his line, he said, “I was feeling really good before the game. I got [Seguin] on my line so I was excited about it. We click well together with Looch and him and it was a good game for us.’’
When Lucic learned of the news, he immediately texted Seguin after yesterday’s morning skate: “Let’s go tonight, bud.’’
So much so, with 11:50 left in first period, all three players had at least one point, with Seguin posting two on his helper to Krejci and on his 21st goal of the season off Lucic’s strong centering pass, which the bruising winger made after fighting off the check of Devils defenseman Mark Fayne.
“I saw Looch with the puck going wide, and there’s not too many guys who can even really catch him or take him down,’’ Seguin said. “So I just try to stay high and wait for the puck. And that’s just kind of an example of watching players and just learning from a unit even if you’re not playing with them, then bringing it to your game when you do play with them.’’
By game’s end, the Lucic-Krejci-Seguin line had combined for 7 points: three goals for Krejci, a goal and an assist for Seguin, and a pair of assists for Lucic.
The spark, though, proved to be Seguin’s speed.
“Obviously, he’s got great speed,’’ Lucic said. “But I think if you look at the two of us, me and David, I think we’re at our best, too, when we’re moving our feet and playing that high-tempo kind of game. I think that’s what kind of got us started, especially with that first shift and that first goal.’’
By then, it was apparent Julien had struck gold, even if it came at the expense of his Gold Line with Bergeron and Marchand.
“I love playing with Bergy and Marsh,’’ Seguin said. “I’ve kind of been with them all year and I know last game we couldn’t get too many goals going - actually zero - so I know we had to get some offense going. I guess we needed to adjust the lines.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.