Lost in the Bruins’ 6-5 overtime loss to Chicago in Game 4 was the lack of playing time for their fourth line. Part of the problem there was the dicey play of Kaspars Daugavins. Boston coach Claude Julien may have an answer for that in Game 5.
Rookie forward Carl Soderberg, he of all of six games played in his NHL career, skated on the fourth line at practice today with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton signaling the possibility he gets the call tomorrow night. Julien told reporters today, as shared by NHL.com’s Matt Kalman, that he was giving things a different look.
“Just trying something else here,” Julien said before boarding the bus in front of a throng of fans outside the Garden. “Again, I’ll make that decision [Saturday]. But just get a different look at what that would look like, that’s all.”
In his six games this season, Soderberg has no goals and two assists as well as six penalty minutes. He played third line type minutes averaging nearly 15 minutes of ice time per game, but he’s yet to appear in the playoffs.
Limiting minutes for fourth line players isn’t hard to do, but Julien may be looking to give his three better lines more of a break by having a better fourth.
The Boston Bruins had a chance to take a commanding three-games-to-one lead on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.
Instead, Game 4 on Wednesday night seemed to be in a constant state of change when it came to momentum, with the one constant being that the Bruins were always chasing.
They were behind the Blackhawks all night, having to come back from a pair of two-goal deficits, before losing in overtime on a Brent Seabrook blast from the point.
The next day, there were questions that perhaps the Bruins had not only thrown away a prime chance to put the Blackhawks in a choke hold for the championship, but that their comebacks throughout the night were wasted.
Old news, really.
“At this point, we just look to the next game, and we gave ourself a chance,” said Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid.
“It was good to see that we were able to keep fighting back to give ourselves a chance, but we’re at the point we are now and got to move on from last game. We have been saying, win or lose, you kind of take it in stride and you move on and get ready for the next game.”
That would be on Saturday.
Both the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have, respectively, had their share of good starts in this Stanley Cup Final, and a pair of bad ones.
And it seems the two teams have alternated good starts and bad starts from one game to the next.
On Wednesday, the Blackhawks got on the scoreboard first and ultimately went on to win Game 4 by a final of 6-5 in overtime.
Should it surprise anyone that this series is tied 2-2, as it shifts back to Chicago for Game 5 on Saturday.
But as the series continues and the final prize grows even closer on the horizon, this aspect has triggered more focus. A slow start at this juncture could be the difference between a Stanley Cup championship and being the runner-up.
“I think if there’s one thing in this series so far, they’ve definitely had the better starts. That’s an area where we keep talking about having a better start,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien, as per CSNNE.com.
“They’ve had the advantage on us in that department, and we’re working on hopefully having some better starts.
“There’s a maximum of three games left. Hopefully we get better starts in those games.”
While much of the focus after last night’s 6-5 loss was on Boston’s failures defensively, that’s not the only thing the Bruins need to improve for Saturday’s Game 5 in Chicago, according to head coach Claude Julien.
“Our counterattack wasn’t as good as it could have been or should have been,” said Julien. “When we regain possession of the puck, we want to get that puck moving in the right direction so we can get a good pace to our game.”
And that didn’t happen enough, he said — “A lot of times we just were standing still, weren’t moving.”
But even (or perhaps especially) after a game in which his team didn’t play its best, Julien was trying to stay positive.
“It’s one loss,” he said. “We’ve got two wins, we’ve got two losses. It’s about preparing for the next game, and our mood is fine.
“Who wouldn’t be happy to be in the Stanley Cup finals? You’ve got to remember where we are and what’s at stake here, and certainly not hang your head over a loss.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Recently inked goaltender Joacim Eriksson is expected to compete with Eddie Lack for the backup gig in Vancouver. That’s assuming of course that the Canucks can trade Roberto Luongo this summer. (Vancouver Province)
The top 30 quotes of the year from Kings coach Darryl Sutter. (LA Kings Insider)
Did the Philadelphia Flyers make the right move by acquiring the rights to 35-year-old defenseman Mark Streit? (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Detroit Red Wings have been fishing for a top-tier defenseman ever since Nicklas Lidstrom retired. So could they pursue Kris Letang? Helene St. James offers the argument against Detroit acquiring the Norris Trophy finalist. (Detroit Free Press)
Chicago Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers hasn’t played yet in the 2013 postseason, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t contributed. (CSN Chicago)
Meanwhile, Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton has also been serving as a healthy scratch during the Stanley Cup Final. However, at the age of 20, this run is more of a learning experience for him. (Toronto Star)
The Bakersfield Condors finished last in the ECHL in 2012-13, but they’re vowing to make the playoffs next season. That’s hardly an usual statement, but they’re backing it up with a free ticket promotion should they fail to meet their goal. (Bakersfieldcondors.com)
Highlights from Chicago’s 6-5 overtime win against Boston: