Is it overdue for a line change?


March 2, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin (35) is congratulated by defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins organization, from the front office to the players all agree that the team is not playing to its full potential. We the fans have agreed with them. The bright spot about all this is that despite consistant game play, the Bruins are 14-3-3, and a single point behind the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the division and the conference. We’ve got one of the best records and we’re not on all cylinders. (Personally, I can’t wait for the Montreal club to take ‘undisputed’ title off their web site.)

Traditionally, the lines have been based on pure merit and performance. I have to wonder if it maybe Claude Julien should make a few moves to reflect that level of performance. One of the Bruins’ main strengths is their ability to put any combination of forwards together and create scoring opportunities. We’ve seen Julien do it already this season. Perhaps it is time to make some of those changes again.

Bruins first line: David KrejciNathan HortonMilan Lucic                                  First defensive pair:  Zdeno CharaJohnny Boychuk

Second line: Patrice BergeronBrad MarchandTyler Seguin                             Second pair: Dennis SeidenbergDougie Hamilton

Third line: Chris KellyChris BourqueRich Peverley                                             Third pair: Andrew FerenceAdam McQuaid

Fourth line: Daniel PailleGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

‘Scratch line’: Jay PandolfoLane MacDermidAaron Johnson

My thoughts on line changes:  Move Marchand and Bergeron to the first line, swapping them out for Krejci and Lucic. The size and speed will effectively be spread out among the lead to production lines. (Although Bergy’s line is clicking better than Krejci’s.) Move Paille up to the third line in place of Chris Kelly. It’s not that Kelly has been terrible. But every time we’ve moved Paille up a line he seems to perform well. Bourque, has been one of our fast players but maybe he should be off the power play and spend a little more time in the fourth line.

The ‘scratch line’ should be seeing more playtime. The healthy scratch is a useful tool if deployed properly. Coach Julien has used effectively in the past as a disciplinary tool, and perhaps he should be doing it again. There are certain players who aren’t getting close to their potential and should be given a one game sit down in the hopes of getting their helmets on straight.

On the defensive side of things, we’ve got six good defensemen who almost seem to have tag-team breakdown days. When the Bruins were a low scoring team, the defense worked extra hard to keep the crease clear and the score low. Now that we’re starting to pick up in the offense department, it seems our D is having a C- kind of season. Most of our losses have come about due to defensive breakdowns. Maybe it’s time to wave the Providence stick around once or twice. I wouldn’t want to see anyone get sent down, but if the breakdowns keep causing losses, something drastic will occur.

Tonight, the Bruins will be playing the Toronto Maple Leafs. It ‘should’ be another low scoring game that relies heavily on good defensive work, and timely net minding. I’m just wondering what kind of play we’ll be seeing from our lines tonight.