BostonBruins.com – The Bruins hit the ice this morning at United Center for their pre-game skate, in preparation for a crucial Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final. During Friday’s practice back in Boston, Carl Soderberg took the spot of Kaspars Daugavins on the fourth line, alongside Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton.
Today, at the Bruins pre-game skate, Daugavins took the first rush with the fourth line, but alternated with Soderberg. B’s Head Coach Claude Julien would not commit to a final lineup.
“Why? Because I'm the coach, and because I can,” said Julien, when asked why he has tinkered with the fourth line. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn't spend three days thinking about that. It's a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we'll see where it goes.
“I may just go back to Daugavins, because, again, I'm tinkering between those two, like I have from the beginning of the series.”
Soderberg played just six games during the regular season, which is why, Julien said, the native of Sweden has not seen any game action during the playoffs. But with the season-ending injury to Gregory Campbell in Game Three against Pittsburgh, a spot opened up.
Daugavins got the call initially, but has seen his ice time decrease in each game since. Julien must now decide whether he wants to go with the grittier Daugavins or the more skilled Soderberg.
“There's situations there that we can look at,” said Julien. “We're trying to find the best fit possible. I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins, as you know right now, it's been between Soderberg and Daugavins. But they're two different players. Size-wise they're different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls, and the other one is probably more of a play maker.
“So there's a difference there, and that's where I have to make my decision what I feel I may need for tonight.”
As has become somewhat of a custom lately, Jaromir Jagr took the morning off and did not participate in the skate. Jay Pandolfo and Jordan Caron took turns filling in for Jagr on the right side of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Jagr is expected to play tonight.
Marian Hossa did not take part in the Blackhawks’ morning skate, but Chicago Head Coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa will play. Jamal Mayers skated in Hossa’s spot on a line with Michal Handzus and Patrick Sharp.
The rest of the Blackhawks’ lineup remained the same.
Series Lives up to the Hype
So far, the first Original Six Stanley Cup Final since 1979 has lived up to its billing. The B’s and Blackhawks are tied at two games apiece heading into Game Five and have seen three of the first four games go to overtime (Game One went to triple overtime).
“We knew it wasn’t going to be a sweep by either team,” said defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “We knew that it was going to be a battle. It’s the finals and you should be battling as hard as you can. Now it’s best of three and you just have to focus in on this next game. We will, and hopefully come out on top.”
As the series goes deeper, the players don’t expect much to change. Close games and overtime could continue to be the norm.
“I think it could happen every game,” said Tyler Seguin, when asked if overtime is more likely as the series goes on. “Every game is tight. I think it’s two great teams with not too many holes. I think it comes down to the battles and the determination of who wants it more on that night. We need to respond correctly here tonight.”
“I think it is kind of the territory at this point,” added Daniel Paille, talking about overtime. “We realize games are going to be tight and could go to overtime. I don’t think we get too carried away about it. That does happen but it’s just because the series has been so close.”
Boston Projected Lineup
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Kaspars Daugavins/Carl Soderberg-Rich Peverley-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Chicago Projected Lineup
Brian Bickell-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp-Michal Handzus-Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad-Andrew Shaw-Viktor Stalberg
Marcus Kruger-Brandon Bollig-Michael Frolik
Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson-Johnny Oduya
Nick Leddy-Michal Rozsival