BUFFALO, N.Y. –- Bruins Claude Julien decided to change things up a little bit during Game 4 on Wednesday night in Boston. He moved forward Milan Lucic from the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi and replaced him with Daniel Paille. Lucic was put on the line with Shawn Thornton and Steve Begin.
It worked for both lines.
So it wasn’t a surprise to see those combinations still in tact during the team’s game-day skate this morning at HSBC Arena.
“It’s the luxury I have,” said Julien. “The bottom line is that it could change tonight, too. I can go either way, I have no issues with that and can make other changes as well. It’s just part of the package you have on your team. You look at what’s going on during the game and you make adjustments according to what you think will help your hockey club. We’ll see. He was on that line this morning and I have all day to decide whether I want to start him there, or go the other way.”
The Bruins acquired Paille from the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 20, 2009 in exchange for a third and fourth pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Since his arrival in Boston he’s been steady and versatile and wants to continue to keep it simple during this series against his former team.
“Most of my career I’ve been pretty much like that, so I’ve adjusted to playing with all sorts of players,” Paille said. “You try to get used to that as much as you can.”
The in-game transition was seamless for Paille in Game 4.
“They bring so much skill and effort, so I’m just going to try to win some battles in the corners and bring a little bit of speed and try to contribute,” he said.
Once Lucic was paired with Thornton and Begin, it was clear his game changed for the better, almost like the pressure was off.
“Both times I played with Begin and Thornton I felt like I’ve been my best,” Lucic said. “That’s obviously what [Julien] has seen also and that’s the reason the three of us are playing together tonight.”
Lucic laughed when asked why he thought his game improved when plays on that line.
“I wish I knew,” he said.
Julien believes by making this change, it makes the team better all-around.
“We’ve seen [Lucic] play some pretty good hockey on that line,” said Julien. “We’ve also seen him play some pretty good hockey up there as well. It’s just one of those things that sometimes you get a feeling for what certain players are doing that night. Having said that, everybody looks at Lucic going to that line as a demotion. Yet, both lines profited from those two players.”