CHICAGO, IL - The Bruins' lineup at pregame skate this morning at the United Center looked the same as Game Four against Pittsburgh and practices this week. As such, expect to see B's Head Coach Claude Julien mixing and matching with the "bottom six" forwards, depending on situations.
We'll often see defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg paired together throughout the game, the mixing and matching will most likely happen on the back end as well, especially in matching up against Chicago's offensive weapons.
The Blackhawks are re-inserting forward Brandon Bollig into their lineup on the fourth line, with Viktor Stalberg expected to be a scratch. It marks his first playoff game of this postseason, but his line with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik was a consistent trio for the Hawks during the regular season that, as their Head Coach Joel Quenneville put it, "seemed to be in their offensive zone at the end of shifts."
Sounds familiar… (merlot, anyone?)
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are also expected to be on separate lines. They have played together much of the playoffs, but Quenneville has exercised his options to mix and match during games when necessary.
Does that impact the Bruins' approach at all?
"It doesn't," said Julien. "We just have to react to it in a way whoever is on the ice. We've said that before, whoever is on the ice has to be aware of the other team's players on the ice. In our system, everybody knows our game without the puck is important."
"I think that's what has gotten us this far, we've respected that, back-checked. Our numbers coming back have continued. Whether I have my fourth line out, guys you can talk about like [Chris] Kelly and [Daniel] Paille, I don't think anybody is worried about their game defensively, and Shawn Thornton who has done a great job on that line as well."
"There's a lot of trust in our coaching staff when those guys are out there, even when they put a top line on. That's why I talk about the matchups up front. Not the end of the world."
"You'll probably see, as every other series, our back end matches up a little more aggressively than our front end."
"Joel already knows that, too, by the way," he smiled.
From a matchup standpoint, Andrew Ference isn't all too worried about which Hawks' line he's facing either - he respects the fourth as much as the top line.
"I think that you always end up on the ice lined up against certain guys more often than not, but that doesn't mean that you drop your guard against other people when you're lined up against them or anything like that, or you take any less pride in defending the other team," said Ference. "I think if we take that approach it helps, it's just more of a consistent thing. I think it's the most honest way to play it because every line can present danger."
Boston Projected Lineup
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jaromir Jagr
Kaspars Daugavins-Rich Peverley-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Chicago Projected Lineup
Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell-Michal Handzus-Patrick Kane
Brandon Saad-Dave Bolland-Andrew Shaw
Brandon Bollig-Marcus Kruger-Michael Frolik
Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson-Johnny Oduya
Nick Leddy-Michal Rozsival