95% of the Boston Bruins have been struggling to score - just another way to put the fact that relying on David Pastrnak to score all our goals is not a solid game plan.
Without a pregame skate today, we’ll have to glean what we can from the practice lineup on Sunday. Coach Claude Julien made an attempt to balance the scoring depth by moving Pasta to the second line with David Krejci and pulling up Tim Schaller to skate on the left wing there. David Backes shifts to Pasta’s spot on Bratrice Marcheron’s line. Danton Heinen dropped to play with the third, and Riley Nash skated on the fourth. An encouraging sign that Frank Vatrano ditched the no-contact jersey and was a part of the second line rushes. (Let’s not get ahead of ourselves; this is the first practice with contact for Vatrano, one day at a time.) Look for Hayes to scratch, since it’s Austin Czarnik’s BIRTHDAAAAAYYYY.
Full practice forwards, per Bruins’ Twitter:
#NHLBruins practice lines:— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 11, 2016
The top powerplay unit went largely unchanged, with Pastrnak time on the first unit. The second unit saw Chara and Spooner at the points, presumably to set the umbrella with Spooner on the half boards, and Dominic Moore between Jimmy Hayes and Brad Marchand. I imagine Jimmy will jump out of the way of a few Chara slappahs.
The defense had the same look as we’ve come to expect:
Brandon Carlo - Zdeno Chara
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller - Kevan Miller
Unfortunately, no updates on John-Michael Liles, who’s now been out two weeks with a concussion. Hope you’re comfortable and healing.
While Tuukka Rask historically struggles against Montreal, it’s not his worst record against opposing teams (check his SV% vs. Montreal, .909 in 24 games, against his SV% vs. Washington, .894 in 14 games). The Bruins have played close games against them this year without Tuukka being in net, so let’s hope it’s an opportunity to exorcise his Canadian demons.
Here were Montreal’s lines from Saturday’s game vs. Colorado:
Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Alexander Radulov
Artturi Lehkonen - Phillip Danault - Andrew Shaw
Paul Byron - Torrey Mitchell - Brendan Gallagher
Daniel Carr - Bryan Flynn - Sven Andrighetto
With Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais on the shelf (knee injuries one game after the other, and they’re both out for nearly two months), this has more of a balanced-attack look to it, much like the adjustments the Bruins made at practice. While Montreal is compensating for injury, however, the Bruins are simply stagnant.
Alexei Emelin - Shea Weber
Andrei Markov - Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu - Zach Redmond
It’d be surprising not to see Carey Price in net, but who knows... maybe they’ll let us rip up al Montoya?
See ya at game time!