To put it simply, the Boston Bruins looked lifeless early on Wednesday night.
In hindsight, it hardly should have been a surprise. They were playing their third game in four days, and the two previous contests came against the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders, a pair of not only the Metropolitan Division’s best teams, but also two of the heaviest.
But whether it was in an effort to wake up his team or just try a different look, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy decided to tinker with his forward lines.
And though the Bruins finished the night falling to the New York Rangers 4-3 at Madison Square Garden after dropping a shootout 2-1, the line shifts yielded some interesting results.
Here’s how the lines started to begin the night.
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk–David Krejci–Peter Cehlarik
Joakim Nordstrom–Trent Frederic–Danton Heinen
Sean Kuraly –Noel Acciari– Chris Wagner
Here’s how they looked after the second-period makeover.
Trailing 1-0 at the time of the lineup change, the Bruins responded by shelling off three unanswered goals, with both the revamped first (Heinen) and second (Pastrnak) units adding the first two tallies. But in the third period, the Bruins ended up conceding two goals, which forced overtime, so clearly the new look didn’t solve all their problems — go figure.
Enough promise was shown though that Cassidy really should give some thought to possibly rolling with some of these changes beyond just Wednesday. And with the Bruins now off until Saturday, he’ll have ample time to ponder and implement it at practice if he so chooses.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Bruins-Rangers game:
— Cehlarik on Tuesday got himself a goal, and Wednesday he made another score happen.
The winger won a puck battle down near the end boards and hit Kevan Miller with a pass at the point. Miller found Krejci with a diagonal pass and Krejci slid a puck to the net, where Pastrnak redirected it to give the Bruins the 2-1 lead.
Though it won’t show up as an assist for Cehlarik, the goal doesn’t happen if not for his effort.
The 23-year-old has been placed in a pretty important, and much-maligned, role, but he’s done mostly well with his opportunity.
— Not everything can be placed on Jaroslav Halak’s shoulders in the loss, but the backup netminder has come back down to earth.
He turned away 36 of the 39 shots he faced against the Rangers, but since Christmas he has a 1-4-2 record with an .873 save percentage (h/t to Bruins Stats on Twitter)
— The one point the Bruins got in the standings allowed them to move into third place in the Atlantic Division.
Both the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have played in 54 games and have a ROW of 28, so the B’s take the third spot since they have a better head-to-head record against the Habs.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images