MONTREAL -- Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to lighten the mood during the team’s morning skate and completely change his lines, as Boston prepares for Game 4 of the second-round playoff series against the Canadiens on Thursday at Bell Centre.
Here’s what the line rushes looked liked:
Even the defensive pairs were all mixed up.
Julien has conducted similar practices and morning skates in the past. Every once in a while he’ll have the players use their opposite hands and play a game of shinny. It’s just a way to help the players relax.
“Oh, it just gives you guys something to write about, so you don’t get bored,” Julien said. “Tonight I will decide if I want to stick with those, or put my lines back to what I want.”
Julien doesn’t like to tweak his lineup too often. He would rather have consistency and chemistry.
“We have fun with things sometimes and that’s all we’re doing right now,” Julien said. “We’re OK. We’re just having fun with things. If you guys want to write about that stuff, that’s fine, but we’re OK in there. We’re just focusing on the game.”
Added Julien, “We’re not overconfident. We’re in a good series here, a big series. We do things our way that we feel is right for our team and we’ll be ready for the game tonight.”
* The last few games, Julien did change his lineup a bit. Justin Florek, who had been on the third line with Soderberg and Eriksson in the absence of forward Chris Kelly (back spasms), was a healthy scratch in Games 2 and 3. Paille was moved from the energy line to the third line, and Caron was placed on the wing with Campbell and Thornton. With Florek assigned to Providence on Thursday and Fraser now in the mix, it will be interesting to see if Julien decides to reunite the Merlot Line. After all, that trio has played together for the majority of the last four seasons and plays well when intact.
“That line’s been together for a long time, so there’s no doubt when you take one of those guys out of there, it’s not the same thing,” Julien said.
Paille believes that line still brings the energy.
“Without me on that line they still have that energetic feel,” Paille said. “They were unfortunate on a couple of breaks, but I still feel like they’re working and I don’t think there’s any doubt that they aren’t. They are two good players and so is Jordan, so I don’t see any difference with that.”
* Carl Soderberg did not participate in the team’s morning skate. Julien said that Soderberg decided to take his optional and not skate. He will be in the lineup for Game 4.
* Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has been skating for exactly one month today, but there’s no indication when he will be cleared for contact. He’s been participating in the majority of the drills the last two weeks and there was a report Wednesday that quoted him as saying that he could play. Per Bruins rules, he has not been allowed to speak with the media because he hasn’t participated in contact drills. Seidenberg tore both his MCL and ACL in his right knee on Dec. 27 and had surgery on Jan. 7.