BOSTON — After winning the last two games in Montreal, the Bruins aren’t likely to make any changes in their lineup as the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate and will remain in net after the Vezina finalist made 34 saves in Thursday’s 5-4 overtime win in Montreal.
The forward lines remained the same at the morning skate, with only Mark Recchi not participating. Recchi also did not skate before Game 4, so his absence is just a case of a veteran conserving a little energy and not anything to be concerned about.
On defense, the Bruins already shuffled their pairs earlier in the series and have been pleased with the results. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg have been the workhorses on the top pair, with Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk now together and Tomas Kaberle and Adam McQuaid rounding out the unit.
“I think you make adjustments throughout the series and you see certain things,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We decided to put those two guys together and as far as their play is concerned it’s been pretty good. They’ve been pretty steady and they’ve been two of our steadiest D’s all year. Having them together makes them a force and they are certainly capable of handling a lot of ice time as well. So we feel comfortable with that and we also felt very comfortable with the other pairs we put together because basically all three pairs have changed.”
The pairings have changed, but the lineup won’t. Tyler Seguin should remain a healthy scratch once again up front, along with Jordan Caron, Jamie Arniel and the rest of the Black Aces. On defense, Shane Hnidy, Matt Bartkowski et al will stay in street clothes, as will spare goalie Anton Khudobin, who has been practicing with the team.
Montreal could make some changes after losing the last two games, but coach Jacques Martin wouldn’t tip his hand after the morning skate.
“We’ll decide on our lineup at game time,” Martin said.
Martin scratched Benoit Pouliot in Game 4 as Jeff Halpern will make his postseason debut after missing the first three games with a lower-body injury.
Martin appears more concerned with getting more out of his top performers than shuffling the final few spots in the lineup. The line of Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Travis Moen were a combined minus-8 in Game 4, with all three on the ice for each of Boston’s final three goals and Gomez and Gionta out there for the Bruins’ final four scores.
“Definitely we need more from certain people,” Martin said. “That’s part of being successful. They’re veteran players and I expect them to bounce back.”
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Greg Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Tyler Seguin, Shane Hnidy, Matt Bartkowski, Jordan Caron, Jamie Arniel, Anton Khudobin
Projected Canadiens lines
Michael Cammalleri-Tomas Plekanec-Andrei Kostitsyn
Travis Moen-Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta
Mathieu Darche-Lars Eller-Jeff Halpern
Tom Pyatt-David Desharnais- Ryan White
Romas Hamrlik-James Wisniewski
Hal Gill-P.K. Subban
Jaroslav Spacek-Brent Sopel
Scratches: Paul Mara, Yannick Weber, Benoit Pouliot, Alexandre Picard (lower body)