MONTREAL — The Bruins are looking to claw back into their opening-round series with the Canadiens, something they will have to do on enemy ice as the series has shifted to the Bell Centre for Games 3 and 4.
Game 3 on Monday will be vital to that cause, as the Bruins can’t afford to fall into a 3-0 hole.
They could get some help on the blue line, a captain Zdeno Chara participated in the morning skate after missing Game 2 on Saturday following a bout of dehydration that forced him to be hospitalized on Friday. Bruins coach Claude Julien wouldn’t declare that Chara will definitely be in the lineup, but did state that it was “looking good.”
Chara’s return would send Shane Hnidy back to the press box. Judging from the line combinations in use at the morning skate, it doesn’t appear that any other lineup changes are planned.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice in the morning, traditionally the indication that he would be starting that night. Postseason gamesmanship can sometimes alter those routines, but all appearances point to Chara’s likely return being the only change for the Bruins.
Julien made sure not to tip his hand on any of those decisions. On Sunday, he cited Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette‘s postseason policy of not discussing lineup decisions, goaltenders or injuries as one he would also adopt. Laviolette broke from that stand earlier on Monday, but Julien held firm when asked about any possible lineup changes.
“Yeah, I think I have the option of which page I want to take out of Peter Laviolette’s book,” Julien said. “I liked the pages the other day, but I didn’t like this morning’s page. Is that OK?”
One possible change would be the insertion of rookie Tyler Seguin back into the lineup, but Seguin skated with fellow “Black Aces” Jordan Caron and Jamie Arniel in what amounted to Boston’s fifth line in the morning skate. The rest of the line combinations remained unchanged from the first two games.
Montreal may have some changes though, as injured forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Jeff Halpern could return. Both players skated Monday morning and will be game-time decisions. Kostitsyn missed Game 2 after blocking a Chara shot in the first game, while Halpern has been out since late in the regular season with a lower-body injury.
“Jeff’s close, probably a decision [that will be] made after warm-ups,” Montreal coach Jacques Martin said.
Martin also noted that he won’t hesitate to switch up his lineup if both forwards are ready to go, as he’s not concerned with maintaining the same lineup if better players are available just because the Habs have won the first two games.
“Every game is different,” Martin said. “You look at your lineup and you want to dress the best possible lineup every night.”
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-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle- Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Scratches: Tyler Seguin, Shane Hnidy, Matt Bartkowski, Jordan Caron, Jamie Arniel, Anton Khudobin
Projected Canadiens lines
Michael Cammalleri-Tomas Plekanec-Andrei Kostitsyn
Mathieu Darche-Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta
Travis Moen-Lars Eller-Tom Pyatt
Benoit Pouliot-David Desharnais- Ryan White
Romas Hamrlik-James Wisniewski
Hal Gill-P.K. Subban
Jaroslav Spacek-Brent Sopel
Scratches: Paul Mara, Yannick Weber, Jeff Halpern (lower body), Alexandre Picard (lower body)