Julien gets busy, shakes up his top lines
WASHINGTON - Through two games, neither of the Bruins’ top two lines - David Krejci between Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley, Patrice Bergeron centering Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin - had a goal. Something had to change.
Did it ever.
In Game 3, coach Claude Julien busted up his longest-running duo of Marchand and Bergeron. For most of the night, Bergeron moved to center Lucic and Peverley. Krejci took most of his shifts between Marchand and Seguin.
“Every once in a while, you’ve got to change your lines around a little bit,’’ said Julien.
The lines from the first two games were intact for warm-ups. After they returned to the dressing room, Julien informed them of the changes.
“Sometimes you do just what you’ve got to do, and players react better to it,’’ Julien said. “We made that change. Had it not worked the way I wanted, I would have gone back with other line combinations. I just tried to get different looks to allow them to refresh some of those guys so they could find their game.’’
The line of Lucic, Krejci, and Peverley had been the most ineffective offensive threesome in the first two games. They had taken most of their shifts against Karl Alzner and John Carlson, Washington’s top pairing.
In Game 3, Alzner and Carlson matched up with Lucic, Bergeron, and Peverley. Roman Hamrlik and Mike Green went up against Marchand, Krejci, and Seguin.
Bergeron’s line had the more pop of the two lines, combining for six shots.
Capitals make changes, too
Washington countered with changes to three of their four lines. On the first threesome, Jason Chimera replaced Troy Brouwer alongside Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich. The third line had Matt Hendricks between Jay Beagle and Brouwer. The fourth line had Mathieu Perreault centering Keith Aucoin and Joel Ward. The only line that didn’t change from Game 2 was the second unit of Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin.
Washington turns on power
When the Bruins go on the power play, they roll out two balanced units.
Not so with the Capitals.
Washington stacks its five best offensive players on their go-to unit. Green quarterbacks the formation at the point. Backstrom usually mans the right-side half-boards. Semin lurks around the zone, hunting for loose pucks. Laich parks himself in front of the goalie.
Naturally, the fulcrum is Ovechkin. The No. 1 left wing is usually seen at the left circle, ready to pop off one of his blistering one-timers.
“You certainly don’t want to play with fire,’’ Julien said before the game. “They’ve got all the ammunition that they want to have it succeed.’’
The Bruins finally got burned. They had killed all five Washington power plays in Games 1 and 2. In Game 3, Semin scored the first power-play goal of the series.
At 16:00 of the first, with Zdeno Chara in the box for roughing, Semin snapped a shot from the high slot. The puck skimmed through Andrew Ference and beat Tim Thomas.
The Bruins’ penalty kill came through in the third. When Dennis Seidenberg was called for roughing at 10:17, the Capitals had a chance to score a game-tying power-play goal. Johnny Boychuk and Gregory Campbell helped kill the penalty with two critical blocks.
Peverley was feeling fine after the game. Peverley took a cross-check in the face from Backstrom after the final whistle. Backstrom has been suspended indefinitely pending review . . . Marchand was in pain in the third period after taking a stick below the belt. He recovered on the bench . . . Chara was dazed in the third period after taking an inadvertent Hendricks stick to the right side of his head. Chara lost his helmet on the play, but didn’t miss any shifts. Chara led all players with 26:29 of ice time . . . During Monday’s morning skate, Tuukka Rask took the most shots he’s seen so far in the playoffs. However, Rask remained out of uniform for Game 3. Anton Khudobin backed up Thomas for the third straight game. With two off days prior to Game 4, it’s possible Rask could in uniform on Thursday . . . Through two games, there hadn’t been any major eruptions between the Bruins and Capitals. Conversely, there have been incidents requiring either fines or supplemental discipline in four other matchups. “This is where you’ve got to give a lot of credit to the referees,’’ Julien said. “They’re earning their money right now. It’s tough. When there are scrums like there were in some of those games, to come out there and try and identify who’s shorthanded, who’s not, who’s the culprit, it’s not easy. I honestly tip my hat to those guys. When you’re watching from a spectator’s point of view, you see how tough it is. I think they’ve done a great job. I know our series hasn’t been as physical. It may or may not. But we’re aware that discipline is a big thing in our series.’’ . . . Adam McQuaid (eye/head) missed his third straight game.