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Bruins searching for the right combos on defense

by Matt Kalman
BOSTON -- At the start of Saturday night's loss at Montreal, the Bruins made their first major shake-up of their defensive pairs since the start of the season.

By the end of the game, coach Claude Julien and his staff had jumbled the Bruins' blueliners again.

Zdeno Chara started out the night playing with Dennis Seidenberg, but finished next to Joe Corvo. Corvo had begun the night with Adam McQuaid, who was paired with Andrew Ference for most of the second half. Johnny Boychuk went from playing with Ference to skating next to Seidenberg from the second period on.

Such is life on a 3-7-0 team that's searching for any type of spark to turn its season around.

"It kind of gives you a sense that maybe they're still trying to search for the right combination," Corvo said after Boston's optional morning skate at TD Garden in preparation for tonight's game against Ottawa. "And also, it kind of gives you a sense that maybe they're not that happy with the pairings or they don't feel like they're the right situations for guys. I would say until things start to go well, we put some wins together and some guys have played with the same guys, then you'll see more solidified pairings."

The Bruins went awhile last season without set pairs. And when they needed to turn things around in the playoffs, they made one switch (led by the pairing of Chara and Seidenberg), which they stuck with until they hoisted the Stanley Cup.

Boychuk says it's a conquerable challenge dealing with changed-up pairs.

"Everybody's just playing with everybody. It hasn't been too bad, chemistry-wise," he said. "We know that we can play with each other. You just make sure, who you're playing with … if you're playing with different guys, different guys have different tendencies and you've just to make sure you remember who you're playing with."

Only a few Bruins skated this morning, but here's what their lineup should look like:

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Joe Corvo
Dennis Seidenberg - Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas should get the start after Tuukka Rask played Saturday night in Montreal.

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