CHICAGO — Kaspars Daugavins’s ice time decreased in each of the first four games of the Stanley Cup Final.
That trend looks likely to continue.
During Friday’s practice at TD Garden, Daugavins wore a green jersey, normally reserved for the healthy scratches. The other forwards wearing green were Jordan Caron and Jay Pandolfo, who have yet to appear in the playoffs.
Carl Soderberg replaced Daugavins on the fourth line alongside Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton for most of practice. The Bruins skated for approximately an hour before leaving for Chicago.
“I was just trying something else here,” coach Claude Julien said. “Just a different look.”
Daugavins played 15:09 in Game 1. The fourth-line left wing nearly scored in triple overtime. Instead, Michal Rozsival’s shot thudded off Andrew Shaw and beat Tuukka Rask for the winner.
In Game 2, Daugavins played 8:28. In Game 3, he played 6:30. In the first period, Daugavins was called for roughing when he slammed his right forearm into the side of Shaw’s head.
In Game 4, Daugavins played only 5:57.
The fourth line has lost its identity following Gregory Campbell’s injury in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The powerful unit of Campbell, Thornton, and Daniel Paille is no more.
“I thought we had some productive minutes the last couple of games,” Thornton said. “We’ve been spotted in and out as far as ice time. The other lines have been really going. If we’re giving them a rest, then great. It’s not excuses. But when it was me, Soupy, and Piesey, we were playing bigger minutes. It’s easier to get into a better groove and create more of an identity when you’re playing bigger minutes. When we are out there with Pevs and whoever else is with us, you have to be productive to try and create energy and good shifts while you’re out there.”
Peverley, the fourth-line center, had one of his sharpest performances in Game 4. Peverley played with confidence after scoring a power-play goal in the first period. He was rewarded with shifts on the third line with Paille and Chris Kelly.
But while Peverley took more shifts, Daugavins and Thornton were shunted out of the 10-forward rotation.
“Last game, I thought as a line, we could have been better,” Thornton said. “But I think it was one of Pevs’s best games in a long time. He kind of carried us a little bit.”
Soderberg has yet to play in the postseason. Soderberg dressed for six regular-season games, but did not play on the fourth line in any of those games.
“I haven’t talked to Coach yet, so I don’t know what’s happening tomorrow,” Soderberg said. “I have been practicing for a long time now, so I feel ready.”
Soderberg was a candidate to play in Game 2 following Nathan Horton’s upper-body injury in Game 1. Had Horton not been available, Tyler Seguin would have moved up to the first line. Soderberg could have replaced Seguin on the third line.
“I’ve been here for 11 weeks now so I know the system,” Soderberg said. “I haven’t played games in a while but if I’m playing tomorrow it will go well. I know everything.”
Playing to strength
The Bruins went 2 for 5 on the power play in Game 4. Peverley and Patrice Bergeron scored five-on-four goals.
The Bruins are 4 for 13 on the power play in the series. They only failed to score a man-advantage goal in Game 2, when they went 0 for 2.
“Right now, we’re playing with a lot of confidence on the power play,” Julien said. “It’s like anything else. Confidence is a big part of the game. When you start feeling it you try and hold onto it as long as you can. Right now, I think our guys are feeling it and feel confident about how we’re handling the puck and moving it around. I think we’re making some good decisions on the power play and it certainly has gotten better. For all the struggles we had with it, what better time than now to be pretty decent on it.”
Any which way
The Bruins scored all five of their goals in Game 4 glove side on Corey Crawford. “I don’t think it was done purposely on our end of it,” Julien said. “We happened to shoot there because that’s where the opening was at that time. But I think you can score on other areas, hopefully, on Corey Crawford than just the glove. It’s one of those games where a lot of them went on that side. At the end of the day, you’re looking for ways to score goals. Whether it’s cross-ice or tips or screens or whatever, it doesn’t really matter.” . . . The Bruins have no intentions of playing from behind on Saturday like they did for most of Wednesday’s overtime loss. The Bruins had to overcome a pair of two-goal deficits. “First of all, it’s not the way we want to play,” David Krejci said. “Second of all, it takes lots of energy out of you. I’m sure it’s the same for both teams. But that’s the game they like to play. They have really fast forwards, fast defensemen. They’re always up the ice. We have to slow them down.” . . . The Bruins are scheduled to remain in Chicago after Game 5. They will travel to Boston on Sunday in preparation for Monday’s Game 6.