In this latest edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, the Bruins sported notable lineup changes during their last practice. In other news, captain Brad Marchand has been struggling as of late and is looking to heat back up. Lastly, while the Bruins have been running into trouble, depth signing Danton Heinen has been playing his best hockey of the season.
Let’s discuss all of this in today’s (Nov. 30) Bruins News & Rumor column.
Montgomery Switches Up Lines
If the Bruins’ lines at practice yesterday (Nov. 29) are used in their next game against the San Jose Sharks, the Original Six club will have a much different look. After three straight losses, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery tried out some new combinations, both with their forwards and defense. Here are the lines and pairings they tried out, as reported by WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin.
Bruins’ lines at practice today:
— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) November 29, 2023
At forward, Jake DeBrusk was moved back to his natural left wing position and moved to the top line with Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak. In response, Marchand was dropped to the second line with Matt Poitras and Danton Heinen. The James van Riemsdyk, Charlie Coyle, and Trent Frederic trio remained together, while Jakub Lauko, Johnny Beecher, and Morgan Geekie made up the fourth line.
On defense, the Bruins moved up Hampus Lindholm to the top pairing with Charlie McAvoy, while Matt Grzelcyk was dropped to the second pairing with Brandon Carlo. As for the bottom pairing, Derek Forbort and Kevin Shattenkirk stayed together.
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With the Bruins suffering three tough defeats in a row, there would be no harm in Montgomery giving this lineup a chance tonight (Nov. 30) against San Jose. Perhaps these changes could give them a much-needed spark.
Marchand Looking to Break Cold Streak
Besides this recent demotion, things have not been going right for Marchand as of late. The 35-year-old has zero points in his last four games and sported a minus-6 rating over that span. This is certainly far below expectations from the 2006 third-round pick, and now his goal is to heat back up.
Marchand is still an extremely important part of the Bruins’ forward group and a big reason for their overall success. When he’s on his game, the Bruins are, and it will be interesting to see if he can find his rhythm shortly. Before his cold streak started, he was playing some of his best hockey of the season, posting nine points over six games from Nov. 6 to Nov. 20. It’s only a matter of time before we see the star forward get back to producing like this.
Heinen Quietly Producing
Now, on the flip side, Heinen has been producing well as of late. Over his last five games, the 28-year-old winger has one goal and three assists. With this increase in offense, he now has two goals, six points, and a plus-4 rating in 13 games this season. While this is not dominant production, it is certainly solid from a player making a league-minimum salary.
The hope is now that Heinen will continue to make an offensive impact as the season continues. If the Bruins roll with the lines they used at their last practice against the Sharks, he will certainly be in a position to succeed playing with Marchand and Matt Poitras.