The Boston Bruins have been out-scored 25-15 in their last five games and are mired in a three-game losing streak. On Wednesday, though, it wasn’t the blue line that got a makeover but rather the forward lines at practice.
In a clear message that Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery isn’t blaming his goalies or his defense corps for the avalanche of goals that has fallen down on his team recently, the reigning Jack Adams Award winner shuffled the deck up front, dropping captain Brad Marchand down to the third line alongside rookie center Matt Poitras to and veteran winger Danton Heinen. Replacing Marchand on the top line with Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak was winger Jake DeBrusk.
The demotion of Marchand is obviously going to garner the biggest news but really shouldn’t come as a surprise. The 35-year-old star winger has not looked like himself for most of the season, especially during the current slump the Bruins find themselves in. Marchand is riding a four-game pointless streak and has just one assist in his last five games.
“We left the lines together for a good stretch there and just not seeing good enough results,” Montgomery said. “We kind of like the Coyle line; they’ve been playing to their identity. But we found that the other lines haven’t played to their identity.”
Montgomery went with the same exact blue line he began Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets with and will once again start Jeremy Swayman between the pipes, despite pulling Swayman in favor of Ullmark 6:14 into the second period of that debacle in Columbus. As he did during his postgame media availability on Monday night, Montgomery stressed again on Wednesday that the goalie change was strictly a move to spark his listless team and not a reflection of Swayman’s play.
Here’s what the roster looked like for the Boston Bruins on Wednesday:
Jake DeBrusk-Pavel Zacha-David Pastrnak
James van Riemsdyk-Charlie Coyle-Trent Frederic
Brad Marchand-Matt Poitras-Danton Heinen
Jakub Lauko-John Beecher-Morgan Geekie
Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm-Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort-Kevin Shattenkirk