Boston Bruins rookie sensation Matthew Poitras is getting a promotion, and veteran center Charlie Coyle will be back in the 3C slot when the Bruins kick off a four-game road trip in San Jose on Thursday.
The Boston Bruins are 2-0-0 so far, but only two of their six goals have come at even strength. While Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery is more of an in-game adjustment type coach as opposed to switching forward lines up every few games, he figured now would be a good time to flip-flop Poitras and Coyle.
“It’s a small sample size, two games,” Montgomery told reporters on Monday. “We’re going on the road. That factors into it a little bit on why. But I haven’t seen a lot of offensive 5-on-5 generation. Again, small sample size. I just think — I trust my eye behind the bench, and then follow it up, and I see it on video, I just want to try something else to get a spark.”
That second and third line center switch left Jake DeBrusk on the left wing with Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak on the top line and Poitras centering captain Brad Marchand and Morgan Geekie. Montgomery has been impressed with Poitras’ offensive flair so far and believes he can create more chances for Marchand and Geekie.
“He’s generated a lot of offense already,” Montgomery said of the 19-year-old rookie who can play seven more games before the Boston Bruins have to decide whether to send him back to the Guelph Storm (OHL) or sign him to his entry-level contract.
“And obviously, you give him a real elite player like Marchy on his line, and I’ve really liked Geekie’s game. Just want to see if there’s chemistry there offensively. And on the other line, putting JD [DeBrusk] with the other two [Zacha and Pastrnak], I think, gives us a real good rush line, has a lot of speed and a lot of creativity to it. Again, is it gonna work? Who knows?”
As for the new third line of James van Riemsdyk (6-foot-3, 208 lbs), Coyle (6-foot-3, 218 lbs), and Trent Frederic (6-foot-2, 220 lbs), Montgomery is hoping they can become a potential shutdown line.
“They’re both good defensively,” Montgomery said when discussing Coyle and Frederic. “So, if I want to, I can match them up against another team’s best offensive line. But most importantly, the O-zone time, they play well together. And I think a guy like van Riemsdyk really helps them connect the dots there because he likes that net-front. Charlie likes to possess it, and Freddy really does a good job getting open as F3 and shoot.”
Here’s what the lineup looked like at practice on Monday:
Jake DeBrusk-Pavel Zacha-David Pastrnak
Brad Marchand-Matt Poitras-Morgan Geekie
James van Riemsdyk-Charlie Coyle-Trent Frederic
Milan Lucic-John Beecher-Jakub Lauko
Extra: Patrick Brown, Danton Heinen
Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm-Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort-Kevin Shattenkirk
Extra: Ian Mitchell