The Bruins lines up front are pretty much set. Florek on the 3rd line, Caron on the 4th, Smiddy on the 2nd line to begin but we wouldn’t be shocked if Eriksson takes over at some point in the playoffs. And Kelly will take over for Florek when he’s back, as will Paille for Caron. Let’s hope Claude puts someone at 4RW in place of Thornton, but I’m not too confident.
The defensive pairings, on the other hand, are another question, if only because we don’t know who’s completely healthy. The pairings will likely be Chara-Hamilton, Bartkowski-Boychuk, Krug-Miller. But it looks like Bartkowski won’t be able to go tonight, which throws a wrench into everything.
That means that Andrej Meszaros is in the lineup, and he’ll play on the left side (remember, he can play both right and left). So, do we put Mez with Boychuk, or is he just flat out not good enough? The reason that Bart is a good call to play against Boychuk is simple: When he was at his best this season, he was playing with Boychuk. They seem to work well together, but I don’t know if that’ll be the same for Mez and Johnny Rockets.
Which is why Boychuk should be with Krug, in my opinion. Meszaros and Miller together scares me, but Krug isn’t exactly great in his own zone, either, and he was gonna be placed with Miller. I don’t think it’ll be that much worse putting Meszaros with Miller than Krug, at least defensively. And that would allow Krug and Boychuk to become a pretty good pairing offensively. Remember how well Boychuk played well on offense last year?
The real wrinkle is what Claude will do late in a game when the B’s really need to shut down a certain line for the Wings. At that point, he can’t be afraid to put Chara with Boychuk, and Hamilton with either Krug or Bartkowski, depending on Bart’s health obviously. The B’s were able to win 3 years ago because they put their 2nd best defenseman with Zdeno Chara, and the 2014 playoffs will occasionally call for that again, only this time with Boychuk.