The old saying is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and that’s exactly what the Bruins are doing for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Canadiens.
After the Bruins sported three different lineups for Games 1-4, coach Claude Julien decided to stick with the same lines and pairings that won Game 4 in Montreal.
Daniel Paille, who saw time on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson for the beginning of the series, moved back to his familiar spot on the Merlot Line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton for Game 4 and is there again for Game 5.
Matt Fraser, who was the hero on Thursday with his game-winning goal in overtime, is back on the third line with Soderberg and Eriksson. The line was arguably the most productive for the Bruins in Game 4, and it was only fitting that it contributed the score that tied the series 2-2.
On defense, Julien has decided to give Matt Bartkowski another chance after benching him for Games 2 and 3 after two penalties in Game 1 led to power play goals by Montreal’s P.K. Subban, including the game-winner in double overtime. Andrej Meszaros, who played in Bartkowski’s place in those games, is a healthy scratch.
Despite contributing far below what was expected from them through the first four games of this series, it looks like the top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Jarome Iginla will not see any changes in Game 5.
“This is a line that has been hot and cold for us in the playoffs so far,” Julien said after Game 3, “it’s a line that has given us a lot this year and sometimes you have to have a little trust, and right now that’s what I’ve got, but things have to get better from that line for us to be successful.”
So Julien is going have faith that they will turn things around, but if the Bruins fall tonight, then there may be some changes come Game 6 on Monday at the Bell Centre.