BOSTON, MA – The Bruins (26-11-1) will be without forward Brad Marchand tonight as he serves the first of a five-game suspension against the Winnipeg Jets (20-16-5).
But the B’s, who at various times this season were playing without forwards Gregory Campbell, Rich Peverley and captain Zdeno Chara, are no strangers to playing a man down.
Boston's depth and also helped when Milan Lucic served a one-game suspension in December for his hit on Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, and when Marchand missed last week’s 9-0 win over Calgary due to flu-like symptoms.
Based on the lineups from when Marchand was ill and also several drills during Monday's skate, it’s likely that Benouit Pouliot will fill in for No. 63 on Patrice Bergeron's line with Tyler Seguin, and forward Zach Hamill will take Pouliot’s spot on Chris Kelly's trio.
“Ben played a good game the day Marshy [Marchand] was sick,” Julien said. “He can certainly play on that line and he’s played well enough to deserve to play there and play in that spot.
"Based on my assessment from last game that he played with them, he’s a very fitting player to put there if need be.”
The Bruins will miss Marchand’s offense, whose 16 goals and 16 assists rank third on the team with 32 points.
But the B’s have showed in the past that they can depend on other lines and players to score, and when Pouliot filled in for Marchand, he picked up three assists in 14:28 on the ice.
Julien is known for not switching his lines often, but the B’s coach is comfortable doing so when he deems it appropriate.
“I’m not a coach that switches my lines every day – I believe in chemistry and a bit of patience sometimes,” he said. “Just because I’m like that, doesn’t mean certain players can’t move around and play other lines.
"There’s a guy like [Tyler] Seguin that can play center, Zach Hamill can play center, and Kelly can play wing.
"We just have a little bit more stability than switching things around and when we do, we’re not worried about it and we’re very comfortable with it as well.”
--- Anthony Gulizia