After the Bruins returned from a four-game road trip having gone 1-3 and scoring just six goals, coach Claude Julien exercised his prerogative to shuffle his lines and did so Sunday in an attempt to give his team a jolt before Monday night’s home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Evidently, it worked.
So much so, Julien decided to restore the lines in the third period of the Bruins’ 3-2 shootout victory. It remains to be seen if Julien will reshuffle the deck yet again for Wednesday night’s home game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Milan Lucic, who had been moved to the third line with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron, was reunited with David Krejci and Nathan Horton on Boston’s top line in the third after the Bruins’ bruising forward snapped a 15-game goal drought.
“I guess, you know, you try and say, ‘Well, there’s a half a period left,’ ’’ Julien said when asked about going back to the original lines in the third. “Looch was skating so well you put him back with his line, and you hope that maybe that little bit of chemistry is going to make a difference, and that’s what you’re trying to do.’’
The move enabled Brad Marchand, Boston’s leading goal scorer (13) who had been bumped to the top line, to rejoin Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. This, after Daniel Paille filled in admirably in Marchand’s stead, landing five shots on goal.
“I didn’t really notice until probably a couple of shifts when I jumped in with Pev and Jordy in the beginning [of the third],’’ Paille said. “And then the next shift I saw Looch and the Krejci line together.
“I figured it wasn’t for sure, for sure,’’ he said. “I don’t think we need to know [ahead of time]. I think we get comfortable with whoever we play against, and [Julien] knows that we trust him with whatever lines that we have, so it was good.’’
Bergeron, who tallied the tying goal at 10:36 of the third, then scored in the shootoout against Toronto’s James Reimer, welcomed Marchand’s return to the second line.
“I think we’ve been together for so long now,’’ Bergeron said. “Even though we’re not playing necessarily as a line together, we know what the tendencies are. We know where a guy’s going to be on the ice, and I think that helps a lot when you have that, I guess that much time to be together and just to get to know the players.’’
With defenseman Adam McQuaid (shoulder) out for 4-6 weeks and the uncertain status of Johnny Boychuk, who sat out the last two games after taking a puck off his leg in Friday’s practice, the Bruins made some moves Tuesday to try to shore up their banged-up back line.
Defenseman Matt Bartkowski was signed to a one-year, $650,000 contract extension through the 2013-14 season, and University of Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Chris Casto, a 6-foot-2-inch, 210-pounder, was signed to an entry-level deal.
Since his emergency recall from Providence March 23, Bartkowski, 24, has appeared in two games and registered two penalty minutes, averaging 14:19 of ice time. Overall, Bartkowski has played in 11 games with the Bruins and has six penalty minutes. He was paired with Dennis Seidenberg and logged 15:51 of ice time Monday.
Day to rest
Noting his team’s “heavy’’ play of late, Julien gave the team off Tuesday. They will reconvene for a morning skate at TD Garden before Wednesday’s game against the Canadiens.
“You can tell, nothing is as quick as it has been,’’ Julien said after Monday night’s victory. “We’re trying to figure out whether the fatigue factor has played into that. I think we’re tired, so we’re going to have to look into [rest] a little bit more.’’
The Bruins have played 14 games this month, with three more to go. They had a relatively light schedule in February, playing only 10 games.
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.