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Julien Sticks with Line Changes for Now

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
WILMINGTON, MA – When Head Coach Claude Julien mixed up his lines in the Bruins 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals Sunday, it was unclear if he would stick with his changes.

After Monday’s day off, the Bruins returned to Ristuccia Arena and rolled out the same lines, with Chris Kelly centering Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley, while David Krejci centered Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron.

But just because Julien used the same lines today, he said that doesn’t guarantee they won’t change again soon.

“It’s keeping everybody on their toes and I guess everybody responded well,” Julien said. “We played a good team game and we knew what [Washington coach Dale Hunter] was going to try and do so we tweaked our lines a little bit and tried to counter that the best way we could and it worked out.”

Nonetheless, Julien was pleased with the results. Kelly’s line had gone a little stale over the Bruins uneven stretch, and the B’s coach said he thought Krejci was a good addition to the line.

“I thought [Krejci] responded well,” Julien said. “When you look at their line in the past, they weren’t even getting any shots on net – I know Caron had about four himself.

"They were good, I didn’t mind them at all and they did the job and I thought David was good himself. It’s just about getting everybody going again and sometimes those changes aren’t bad things.”

Whenever a team's lines are switched and the roster is shaken up, there’s often a connotation that a message is being sent. But according to Julien, he wasn’t trying to send any message – he was doing what he thought would get his team on track.

“Doesn’t matter to me how they look at it,” Julien said. “The main thing for me is to do the right thing for the team.

"As professionals, it’s up to them to accept it and give it the best...the expectation is that you have to give your best every game that you play in and you owe that to the organization.

“If I put a guy on the first line to the fourth line, he’s still got to go out there and his responsibility is to give his best. Our guys are mature enough and they understand that through the season there’s going to be some of those changes and as far as I’m concerned, everybody reacted well. The way we played was certainly proof of that.”

Prior to the Washington game, the Bruins were 4-5-1 in their last ten games and weren’t playing up to the standards they set when going 22-3-1 in the months of November and December.

However on Sunday, the team turned in a full 60-minute effort.

“It really felt like we had control most of the game and we did the things that we normally do when we’re successful,” Julien said.

The Bruins (33-16-2) will try to channel the focus from Sunday’s win when they take on the Buffalo Sabres (22-24-6) Wednesday night in upstate New York.

“The one thing we’re well aware of is we haven’t fared well against teams that are out of the playoffs right now,” Julien said. "We've got to be a little bit better.

"Right now, our goal is to carry the last game into this game here.

“Just because of where [the Sabres] are right now, it doesn’t make them a bad team. It makes them a hungry team and we’re certainly aware of that. And like I said, our focus is more about our play than it is about other teams right now at this stage," he said.

--- Anthony Gulizia
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