Bruins-Islanders Notes: Top-Line Chemistry Still Work In Progress

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Loui ErikssonBOSTON — Chemistry in the NHL normally isn’t developed in only a couple of games, and we’re seeing that with the Bruins’ top line.

Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Loui Eriksson skated as a line for the first time in the preseason during Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders, and it was clear that more game time is needed for this trio to start clicking.

“Hopefully we can get something together quickly. It’s kind of a tough game too with penalties, especially in the second there it was tough to get a good feeling out of it,” Eriksson said. “Definitely we need some more games here maybe and get the connection going. Just work hard. We have a little bit of time to improve and get better and definitely we can work on some more stuff the next game.”

The Lucic-Krejci-Eriksson trio combined for just five shots and zero points as a unit against the Islanders. Eriksson picked up an assist on Brad Marchand’s third-period goal after killing a penalty.

“I don’t think that line as a whole had a good game, either of them. When I say great game, they were just OK. I don’t think they were a dominant line tonight,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “Probably hard to assess as far as will that line work or not. Definitely we need to see them play a little bit better. Hopefully as camp progresses, that’s going to happen.”

Finding chemistry and understanding where linemates are going to be in certain situations probably will take a few regular-season games to accomplish. These guys didn’t play much together last season, and they weren’t able to begin the preseason as a trio because Lucic was recovering from offseason surgery on his left wrist.

Eriksson has the most adjustments to make as the newcomer to the line, but he does have plenty of top-six experience from his seven seasons playing for the Dallas Stars, with whom he averaged 29.5 goals scored from 2008-09 through 2011-12.

“I’m just going to try to do everything I can and just work hard,” Eriksson said. “(Krejci and Lucic) have been playing together for a while so they know each other really well. You just go out there and try to work as hard as you can and try to help them.”

— Julien said fourth-line center Gregory Campbell is “improving,” but there’s no timetable for his return. Julien recently revealed that Campbell is “questionable” for the regular-season opener on Oct. 8.

— Forward prospect Bobby Robins is an exciting player to watch. He finishes his checks, delivers monster hits, gives 100 percent effort on each shift, and his energy is contagious. Robins had a team-high seven hits Tuesday night and is among several forwards competing for a bottom-six forward job.

“Yeah, that’s pretty much it. It’s no secret, the game I play,” Robins said. “It’s a hard-nosed game. I’m being physical, getting in on the forecheck, just trying to open up space for my linemates and teammates. And I’ve been doing that down in Providence. That’s the way the organization likes me playing, and nothing was going to change when I came up here.”

Robinshit2ndGIF via Twitter/@MyRegularFace

— David Pastrnak, the team’s first-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft, practiced again Tuesday and took contact. Julien said the team’s goal “is to hopefully get him in a (preseason) game.” Pastrnak tweaked his shoulder during the second practice of training camp.

— Matt Bartkowski scored a short-handed goal in the third period with a beautiful wrist shot. He’s one of the defensemen competing for a spot on the blue line, and he’s trying not to think about where he fits on the depth chart right now.

“It’s just as uncertain (as the regular season),” Bartkowski said. “Who really knows? But that’s something that we can only control with our play, so I don’t really intend to worry about it.”

— Brad Marchand has received more power-play time than normal during the preseason, and he could play a larger role during the regular season following the summer departure of veteran winger Jarome Iginla.

“I’m excited to be out there and be part of it,” Marchand said of the power play. “It’s a big opportunity and you want to be in those situations and try and help the team. For the most part I’m feeling pretty comfortable out there and just trying to make plays. The biggest thing is I can’t really worry about the outcome and what their plans are. Just have to control what I can and that’s my play on the ice.”

Have a Bruins/NHL question for Nick Goss? Send it to him via Twitter at @NickGossNESN

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