Some Boston-related quick hitters from the morning skate ahead of Game 4 tonight:
— Though Boston wasn’t offering any hints of its lineup Thursday morning, the way Kreiji and fellow center Patrice Bergeron sounded, it’s a good bet the Bruins top two lines will remain the same as Game 3, when Julien flip flopped his two centers from what the team had gone much of the regular season. That means Kreiji would once again center a line with left wing Brad Marchand and right wing Tyler Seguin. Bergeron, meanwhile, would skate alongside Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley, a group that has emphasized “creating a strong forecheck,” Bergeron said.
The top two lines are a popular discussion point among Boston fans these days, as those six players have combined for just one goal and one assist in the first three games of this series. In Boston’s two wins, however, its third and fourth line have flourished at times.
“You need depth,” Julien said. “You need to make sure scoring goes around, and no matter who scores in a series, we’ve still scored one more goal than them.”
— Julien was asked specifically about 20-year-old Tyler Seguin’s 0-fer in this series following a regular season that saw become the youngest player ever to lead the Bruins in scoring with 29 goals and 67 points.
“He’s a 20-year-old that doesn’t have the experience of the other guys that we’re talking about playing well,” Julien said. “He’s also playing against some of the best defensive players, and he needs to gain that experience. He needs to fight through it, and I thought last game he competed a lot harder in the areas we talked about. So I’m not disappointed in him.
“There’s other guys on our team that are good goal scorers that don’t have the points. I don’t see any reason to look at him more than anybody else. He’s part of our team and right now he’s doing everything he can to improve every game and I’m gonna allow him to do that … without putting undue pressure on a young player.”
— The Bruins’ power play has also been a dud so far in this series, and Kreiji said they’ve spent the past two days of practice trying to work out the kinks. Boston is 0-for-11 with the man advantage, the lone team in the NHL playoffs without a power play goal yet. Julien said the Bruins have had 10 scoring chances on the power play in three games, but “the finish seems to be a bit of a struggle right now.”
“It’s about putting the puck on net, getting some rebounds and get some ugly ones there right away and going from there and establishing some confidence and I think it’s going to take care of itself,” said Bergeron.
— Julien’s session with the media wouldn’t have been complete without some question about physical play, a topic that has overshadowed this year’s NHL playoffs at times. The Bruins’ coach considers this “a pretty normal series” on that front even after the extra pushing and shoving that seemed to be the focus following Game 3.
“There’s no way you can go through patting each other on the back and not get physical and emotional,” he said.
More on the Capitals:
— Bruins’ gameplan won’t change with no Backstrom
— Knuble ready to “jump back into it”
— Caps weigh in on ambiguity of NHL suspensions
— Jason Chimera, unplugged
— Alzner says he wasn’t calling Lucic a cry baby