The Boston Bruins will be keeping their new-look forward lines after piling up four goals in Game 3 on Monday night. It means Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand will be separated for the first time in the better part of two seasons skating together when they take on the Washington Capitals Thursday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET) for Game 4.
"It's more of what I liked about the individuals. Milan [Lucic] played great; he was solid with a physical game and he was skating better. He was just a better player. With the line changes some of those guys - even Marchand - were a little better," said Claude Julien. "He's got some areas that he wants to keep getting better at. With [Tyler Seguin] he's got a few shots, but I thought his battle was much better [in Game 3] than he had in the first two games.
"So everybody improved and we'll keep going with that."
Caps' Knuble takes vacant spot
The Capitals have shuffled things around with Nicklas Backstrom suspended for Game 4, and it appears Mike Knuble will be taking the vacant spot in the lineup to add some size, strength, toughness and veteran leadership to the mix.
The Caps are also planning to play rugged defenceman John Erskine, one of the few NHL players that's got the drop on Lucic in a fight before. Erskine dropped Lucic during his rookie season with the Bruins, and the two pugilists have fought twice during their careers.
Caps coach Dale Hunter said the presence of Erskine, who hasn't played since Feb. 12 due to healthy scratches and a lower body injury, will "protect his players."
"After the whistles and before the puck was dropped they were going after us. Lucic was going after [Backstrom's head], but we've got to play through it and protect the players on the ice," said Hunter with an interesting choice of words. "Right now, you know, we've matched them up. Erskine is healthy again and he's a big, strong guy in front of the net. He takes the body and he's an honest player."
Bruins' power-play woes
The Bruins are 0-for-11 on the power play in three playoff games against the Capitals after going 0-for-21 on the man advantage against the Montreal Canadiens in last year's playoffs. Still, Boston defeated the Habs in seven games.
Expected lineup combinations
Milan Lucic-Patrice Bergeron-Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand-David Krejci-Tyler Seguin
Brian Rolston-Chris Kelly-Benoit Pouliot
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon-Joe Corvo
Alex Ovechkin-Brooks Laich-Marcus Johansson
Jason Chimera-Mathieu Perreault-Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks-Jay Beagle-Troy Brouwer
Mike Knuble-Keith Aucoin-Joel Ward
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik-Mike Green
John Erskine-Dennis Wideman
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