Just in time for Game 1 of the Bruins’ Eastern Conference Quartefinals series with Toronto, the entire team got healthy.
That allowed coach Claude Julien to align three of his forward trios the way he had them at the start of the season.
Actually, those lines have been together as far back as the 2011 run to the Stanley Cup championship.
With David Krejci between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron between Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, and Gregory Campbell between Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton, Julien’s decision paid off in the Bruins’ 4-1 win. Those lines were again together for practice Friday at Ristuccia Arena.
“I felt confident that that was the best thing to do at the time, I guess,” Julien said. “You know, separating them wasn’t a bad thing because at the same time you create some excitement there of being back together because, I know for a fact the lines that I have right now, they like playing with each other. And sometimes you get too comfortable and you think you’re there forever and when you get separated a little bit you realize how much you’re missing. It’s the same thing when you leave your wife, when you get back, right? It’s sort of the same thing.”
The fourth Bruins forward line might look more like the one from earlier this season in Game 2 Saturday. Rich Peverley, who was a healthy scratch for Game 1, practiced with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr, while Kaspars Daugavins practiced with the healthy scratches. Kelly and Peverley enjoyed success together before this season. In 2013, they’ve been together with a cast of several wingers and also separated. Now it might be time for Peverley and Kelly to rediscover their magic.
“We seemed to play well together in the past, so hopefully we can keep it going. And maybe this is the time for us to prove that we can play well together.”
On defense, Andrew Ference’s suspension will make continuity impossible for Game 2. Dougie Hamilton practiced on a pair with Wade Redden, but Julien wouldn’t commit to a set replacement for Ference after Friday’s practice.
If Hamilton plays with Redden, Adam McQuaid would skate with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg would join Johnny Boychuk. Skating with Chara would throw more responsibility McQuaid’s way.
“I’m not trying to do a whole lot more than what I normally do,” McQuaid said. “I just try to be solid whenever I’m called upon. I’m not trying to do much more than that.”
The Maple Leafs practiced at BU. Several of their lines were different and they might make some changes on defense. Phil Kessel practiced after a maintenance day on Thursday.