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  • Bruins line changes come at inevitable time

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    Bruins line changes come at inevitable time

    Tim Rosenthal December 11, 2016

    BRIGHTON — Three goals in two games. A problem for a team under any circumstance.

    For the Boston Bruins, that problem is magnified to a different degree after back to back losses to two of the worst defensive teams in the league – let alone two teams in the bottom of the standings – against the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs.

    A year after the Bruins finished fifth in the league in goals for with 236, head coach Claude Julien and company find themselves ranked 23rd in the same category having scored 67 goals in 29 games. Thirty of their goals have come from the top line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Eighteen alone from Pastrnak, still good for second in the NHL – two behind Sidney Crosby.

    Having hinted at potential changes after Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Julien followed through on his comments during Sunday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

    “We definitely need more scoring throughout our lineup, there’s no doubt about that,” Julien said during his postgame press conference inside the Will McDonagh press room at TD Garden. “You want to spread your scoring, our third-line needs to give us some production, doesn’t matter, it just seems whoever has been on that line we haven’t had a lot of production there. It’s got to be spread out, but at the same time I don’t care who scores them we just have to score.”

    Julien’s comments came a day after adding Danton Heinen and Noel Acciari from Providence with Jimmy Hayes once again taking a seat on Level 9.

    The only duo still intact is Marchand and Bergeron, who welcomed David Backes as their new linemate. That gave Pastrnak a chance to reunite with David Krejci on line two with Tim Schaller and Frank Vatrano (who is closer to returning but won’t be traveling with the team this week to Montreal and Pittsburgh) rotating in to complete that trio. Ryan Spooner made the transition again from wing to center on the third line with Heinen and Austin Czarnik at wings and the fourth line consisted of Riley Nash centering Acciari and Dominic Moore.

    Additional changes were made on the Bruins’ two power play units. Pastrnak takes Spooner’s spot operating the bumper on the top unit with Bergeron centering, Backes manning the net front area and Krejci and Torey Krug on the points. Spooner moved to the point with Zdeno Chara on the second unit with Marchand in the half-wall, Moore centering and a rotation of Hayes and Schaller in the high slot.

    Whether the changes will result in success remains to be seen, but the Bruins knew the inevitable was coming sooner rather than later, especially with Monday’s matchup against the Canadiens, who are fresh off their 10-1 smackdown of the same Avalanche squad that bested the Black and Gold 48 hours prior.

    “It’s not working the way it was, so what do you have to lose?” Backes asked following Sunday’s practice. “Jostle [the lines] a little bit, see if we can find a little chemistry and different methods at work. We had a hard 50-minute practice to instill those things into our game – a lot of net front activity – and it’s what we need to do and we’ll see how it sorts out tomorrow.”

    Getting pucks past Carey Price is obviously one of the tougher tasks for any team. For a team struggling to find their rhythm offensively, the last thing they need is to settle for one and done’s against the 2015 Vezina winner.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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