The Boston Bruins are still looking to sort things out with their forward group, and that’s clear by busting up the Perfection Line at Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
As he’s done at times in the past, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is tinkering and dropped David Pastrnak from the top line to give playmaking center David Krejci some time with the dangerous game-breaking right winger. Jake DeBrusk pushed up to the right side with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand as he did during part of Pastrnak’s absence to start the season, and Craig Smith was back in his usual third line spot with a scuffling Charlie Coyle.
The moves are pretty clearly designed to balance out the scoring and offensive pressure from each of the top three lines as things had been way, way too top heavy with Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak over the last couple of weeks. We’ll see if the changes fixes things as Krejci and Pastrnak haven’t ever really consistently produced together enough to stick together over a long period of time, and the B’s coaching staff always goes back to the default of the Perfection Line.
“It’s a little bit of [moving around] a few guys offensively that haven’t had much luck, Krejci and Jake [DeBrusk]. I thought DeBrusk played okay up there. I thought he was doing a good job. They tend to push whoever is with them, so it could be a good arrangement. We’d talked about doing it in the past, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Krejci has played before with Pasta, so maybe it’s a little bit of a different look.
“Bergeron and Marchand are going to be fine. They generate every night. Pasta had a great start, though pucks aren’t finding him as easily as they did when he first came back. Part of that is coverage. Maybe this gets both lines scoring consistently, I guess. We’ll see where it goes from there. Our plan this week is to work on our scoring and getting inside ice.”
Krejci has five even-strength points in 14 games this season, and is still looking for his first goal of the year for a second line that’s had a difficult time getting untracked. Coyle has just two goals and four points in 14 games and has gone more than two weeks without a game where he’s had more than two shots on net. Clearly some kind of impetus was needed to jolt the middle six forwards.
Interestingly, Anton Blidh, Greg McKegg and Karson Kuhlman were all part of Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, indicating that the Bruins might have intentions of using some reserve forwards if their usual guys don’t start playing up to their potential beyond the top three guys.
Here are the line combos and defensemen pairs at Monday’s practice courtesy of our good friends at the Boston Bruins:
#NHLBruins practice lines:
Marchand – Bergeron – DeBrusk
Ritchie – Krejci – Pastrnak
Bjork – Coyle – Smith
Frederic – Kuraly – Wagner
Blidh – McKegg – Kuhlman
Lauzon – McAvoy
Clifton – Carlo
Moore – Kampfer
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 15, 2021