BOSTON -- With Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) missing the first 23 games of the season and David Krejci (concussion) missing six games, Claude Julien has had to depend on the depth and versatility of his forward corps to fill in at center. Often moving players to their off-wing and at times -- as in the case of Blake Wheeler -- moving them to center. But now with Savard and Krejci both healthy and in the lineup, Julien has more options for forward lines with a wealth of depth up the middle.
"It's always good to have those options," Julien said Thursday. "It's one of those things that we've felt since the beginning of the year, we talked about having some depth and now we have some depth. It creates competition and when there's a need for a change, you make that change and you still feel like you've got a decent lineup. Sometimes playing with new people gives you a little bit more energy and gives you the spark that you need and you go from there. We have that opportunity."
In the third period of Tuesday night's 3-2 overtime win over the Sabres, Julien seized that opportunity sensing the time was right to provide that spark. He flip-flopped Savard and Krejci so that Savard was centering Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton and Krejci was between Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. The move paid off as the Bruins tied the game on a Horton goal to force overtime.
"That's just making changes along the way and when you're seeing that your team is a little dull, I guess at the time or we weren't generating enough attacking in the third," Julien said. "You make a little change in the third here and there just to give it a spark and that's basically what it is. There's no doubt that those are great options to have as a coach. We feel that we're really strong up the middle and that you can move some guys around and it's certainly not going to hurt your team that's for sure."