Why Jim Montgomery Moved Taylor Hall To Bruins’ Top Line Vs. Lightning

Hall's offensive production has cooled off of late


January 26

Everything is going pretty much near perfect for the Boston Bruins recently to the point where there’s not really much to change in terms of the team’s lines and defensive pairings.

But first-year coach Jim Montgomery obviously thinks otherwise.

Montgomery still wants to experiment with the lineup even as the Bruins take their six-game winning streak into Tampa Bay on Thursday night to battle the Lightning at Amalie Arena.

Montgomery is moving Taylor Hall, who has seen time on the third line this season, up to Boston’s top line to play on the right wing next to Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

“Just want to see it. It’s something we haven’t tried,” Montgomery told reporters after morning skate Thursday, per team-provided video. “We’re always looking at different ways to see if we can use people different ways to just better ourselves. That’s what we’re going to do there, give him the opportunity. I’ve never seen him on his right wing.”

After a strong start to the season, Hall’s production has cooled off. He went 16 straight games without scoring a goal before he found the back of the net in Tuesday’s win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Heading up to the first line and playing with two playmakers in Bergeron and Marchand might just be the right recipe to reignite the 2010 No. 1 overall pick. After all, every button Montgomery has pushed this season has been the correct one.

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“Obviously, two great players,” Hall told reporters, per team-provided video. “I played with Bergy a bit last year when there were some injuries and guys were out. I played with March a lot on the power play. It’s a great opportunity. I don’t think I have to change my game a whole lot. I’ve lined up on the right side throughout games a lot in my career just when we would play 11 forwards and guys would go out during the game.

“It’s something that I’m used to and those are great players and they’re easy to play with. They’re very easy to read. A north-south game and that’s a game that suits me.”

With Jake DeBrusk being sidelined due to injury, it has allowed Montgomery to try different combinations with his lines.

And by having Hall play alongside two of Boston’s best players, it gives the trio a chance to form a better rapport and see if this is a viable line option for the Bruins going forward.

“It’s interesting to see how we connect with different guys, but it typically is easier to get more comfortable with a guy the more you play together,” Marchand told reporters, per team-provided video. “Hopefully we connect here tonight and we’re able to stick together for a while and build that chemistry while Jake’s out.”

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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