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The Lines, They are a Changin'

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- By the third period of Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had seen enough and he and his coaching staff began tinkering with the club's lines as a method to sparkplug the B's shortlived comeback attempt.


The Maple Leafs visit the TD Garden on Thursday.
But that tinkering continued through the night and on Wednesday, the B's presented three new lines in practice.

"Well, I wish I could stand here and pretend I’m a genius, but you know what? I don’t know what I’m going to get," said Julien of the new combos. "What I know is that what I was getting before wasn’t enough, so I just felt the need to make those changes."

Tonight, Bruins fans should see:

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Nathan Horton
Jordan Caron, David Krejci, Rich Peverley & Benoit Pouliot (depending on Krejci's status)
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

"We’ve kind of put those certain guys together for a specific reason, say ‘these guys here together might work and those guys there.’ It’s never a bad thing to mix guys up a little bit, because sometimes it brings that burst of energy," said Julien. "It’s a new challenge.

"You could be a great line for a whole year, but then all of a sudden you go stale a little bit," added Julien. "Well, maybe being apart for a while will give us some life and at the same time it might make those guys appreciate playing with each other again down the road.

"It’s not a bad thing and I don’t have the answer...[but] I’m going to try and find those solutions," he said.

Solutions are needed, and quickly. Toronto, once the doormat of the B's Northeast Division comes into the TD Garden with a 4-0-1 record and boast the NHL's leading scorer Phil Kessel, who has seven goals and five assists for 12 points in five games.

Milan Lucic said he thinks that the solution should come from within each individual player and supports the new trios.

"There has been spurts I think that were played well and that we’ve been in sync, but not enough of it, I think that’s it," said Luic. "You look at last year -- we were finding each other and getting open for one another and everything was clicking, everyone was in the spot where we were supposed to be -- where this year we’re a little bit late here, a little late there, we’re not finding the guy when he’s open, we’re not seeing each other as well and that’s why there’s need for change.

"I think for myself, I support the decision for a change and hopefully we work our way out of this and find our game again."

Nathan Horton, Lucic's now former linemate, agreed.

"Yeah. Sometimes it can give you a little bit of a spark, playing with someone different," said Horton. "Obviously we’ve got great guys on the team, it doesn’t really matter who you play with.

"I think the main thing here is you’ve got to get yourself going."

Although many have pointed to the power outage at the top of the B's lineup (Horton, the injured David Krejci and Lucic have accounted for a combined 2-2-4, -3) Julien remained steadfast in his refused to point fingers in regards to the Bruins 2-4 start.

"We’re going to reap the benefits together as a team and then we’re going to take the brunt of what’s happening to us as a team as well," he said. "I don’t think there’s anybody in that room that can put their arm up and say, ‘listen, I’m at my best right now’, so we’re fighting through it together."

And although Julien holds out hope that the new line combos will provide some spark as the B's take on Toronto, he believes that the current Black & Gold malaise is a mental condition.

"Frustration has taken over. Those kinds of things you’ve got to work through," said Julien. "We don’t expect any help from anybody.

"We expect ourselves to get out of it and we don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for us, because who would? We just came off a Stanley Cup Championship.

"It’s just a matter of taking it on yourselves as a team, to battle your way out of it and...show our character -- which we’ve shown many times before and battled our way out of it -- and I know this team will do that."
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