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Bruins roll out interesting line combinations in shootout loss to the Wild

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Matt Bartkowski started the game paired with Corey Potter, but was back to playing with Johnny Boychuk by the end of the night. (Marilyn Indahl/USA Today Sports)

With a playoff spot, the Atlantic Division, and the best record in the Eastern Conference wrapped up, Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to mix things up with the Bruins lineup on Monday against the Wild.

Jarome Iginla and Kevan Miller got the night off with what was described as a “maintenance day,” while David Krejci was a healthy scratch. The Bruins had 11 active forwards and seven active defensemen for the game, which the Bruins lost in a shootout to Minnesota.

The top line, normally centered by Krejci, saw Carl Soderberg centering Milan Lucic and Loui Eriksson, while the third line had Chris Kelly centering Daniel Paille and Jordan Caron.

The most interesting forwards combination, however, had to be the fourth line, where Julien decided to move defenseman Torey Krug up to left wing to skate as a forward with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

The Marchand-Bergeron-Smith line was the only grouping that saw no alterations for the contest.

The top defensive pairing wasn’t out of the ordinary, as Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk skated together in what will undoubtedly be the No. 1 defensive line come playoff time.

The second and third pairings, however, were more experimental: Matt Bartkowski, who normally skates with Boychuk, was paired with Corey Potter, while Andrej Meszaros skated with Dougie Hamilton, who is usually paired with Chara.

Later in the first period, however, after the Wild tied the game at two goals apiece, Hamilton was moved back to playing with Chara, while Bartkowski was paired back with Boychuk.

Krug went back to taking some defensive shifts later in the game, with Julien deciding to roll three offensive lines for the rest of the night.

Three games remain for the Bruins in the regular season: Thursday in Winnipeg, Saturday at home against Buffalo, and Sunday in New Jersey. The Bruins have 114 points and lead the St. Louis Blues by three points for the President’s Trophy. St. Louis also has three games to play.

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