Claude Julien Mixes Up Lines As Bruins Hold High-Intensity Practice Following Flat Effort Against Ducks

Claude Julien Mixes Up Lines As Bruins Hold High-Intensity Practice Following Flat Effort Against Ducks WILMINGTON, Mass. — Mired in a slump that’s seen them win just one of their last five games, the Bruins knew some changes would be coming.

And in practice at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday, the first moves came with a reshuffling of the club’s forward lines.

“Any time you have a difficult time scoring goals, a shakeup is in order,” said forward Blake Wheeler. “We’ve had a few problems here the last few games. Anyone can really play with anyone here, it’s just a matter of being on the same page.”

Wheeler found himself back with some familiar linemates, as he was reunited with David Krejci and Michael Ryder. That trio enjoyed plenty of success two years ago but couldn’t recapture that magic last season. Now, Bruins coach Claude Julien hopes the third time together will be the charm.

“You’ve got to try to find some solutions here, so we moved some people around,” said Julien, whose club has scored just nine goals in those last five games. “Let’s see if that can happen. If it happens, great, because they were pretty successful then and maybe we see that again.”

The other new lines also had some familiar feel as well. Marc Savard was back on the top line with Milan Lucic, with Nathan Horton on the other wing. When Horton was acquired in the summer, many envisioned he would be the sniper to complement Savard’s playmaking abilities.

“He’s such a smart player,” said Horton of Savard. “He can create so much on his own. Just give him the puck and he’ll make plays and get you the puck. You always have to be ready with him because he passes when guys don’t think he’s going to pass.”

The third line brought Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi and Tyler Seguin back together. That generation-spanning combination was used in training camp but hasn’t skated together consistently in any regular-season games.

Only the energy line of Greg Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille remained unchanged. Paille again skated in place of Brad Marchand, who did not practice and remains out with an undisclosed injury.

There were almost more injuries in practice, as the high-intensity workout featured plenty of battling in drills. Savard and Bergeron had a heated discussion after exchanging cross-checks, while Horton was briefly hobbled after colliding with Lucic and falling awkwardly. No one was seriously hurt though and Julien appreciated the intensity displayed during the drills after the club lacked emotion in Monday’s 3-0 loss to Anaheim.

“We tried to create a little bit more intensity and more compete level,” said Julien.  “[Get] a little more emotion and hopefully get this thing turned around.

“Today was a good practice,” added Julien. “I think if we can compete like that in a game, we’re going to certainly be the team we want to be.”

The key will be translating the intensity of practice to a sustained effort Thursday when the Bruins host Atlanta in the final game of their pre-Christmas homestand.

“It’s too bad because you’d like to do it when it matters,” said Wheeler. “[Monday] night was a better time to leave it all out there. I think the guys aren’t stupid. We know what’s being said without even reading the papers. That kind of puts everyone in a different place, kind of pisses everyone off. The only time it matters, though, is Thursday. We’ll have another good day of practice [Wednesday] I’m sure, but if we’re not pissed off Thursday then it really doesn’t do much good.”

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