Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 21: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche with his teammate Taylor Hall #71 during the second period at the TD Garden on February 21, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

A trip down to Tampa Bay will come with a top-line experimentation from Bruins coach Jim Montgomery, who will put Taylor Hall to the right of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the Black and Gold’s first line.

“I just wanna see it,” Montgomery said of the decision to bump Hall up and to the right. “It’s something we haven’t tried, and we’re always looking at different ways to see if we can use people different ways to just better ourselves. That’s what we’re gonna do there, and give [Hall] the opportunity there.”

The promotion for Hall comes amidst a Jake DeBrusk-less lineup run that’s seen David Pastrnak and Craig Smith skate on DeBrusk’s usual spot to the right of the B’s all-zone, one-two punch of Bergeron and Marchand.

  • According to Natural Stat Trick, the Bruins have had Hall out there with Bergeron and Marchand for just 2:49 of five-on-five action, with the Bruins outshooting opponents 4-0 over that extremely limited sample.

    And going back to Hall’s move to Boston from Buffalo in 2021, the Marchand-Bergeron-Hall trio has been given just 5:02 of five-on-five time together, and with a 10-2 shot advantage and 1-0 in goals.

    Again, that’s an extremely small sample, but the results are encouraging enough to warrant a deeper look, especially with DeBrusk’s return around the corner (probably right after the All-Star break).

    “I played with [Bergeron] a bit last year when there were some injuries and guys were out [and] I played with [Marchand] a lot on the power play,” Hall said following the team’s morning skate at Amalie Arena. “It’s a great opportunity. I don’t think I have to change my game a whole lot. I’ve lined up on the right side throughout games a lot in my career just when we would play 11 forwards and guys would go out during the game.”

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 30: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins talks with Taylor Hall #71 during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers of the preseason game at TD Garden on September 30, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 30: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins talks with Taylor Hall #71 during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers of the preseason game at TD Garden on September 30, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • Hall’s move to the top line comes after the 31-year-old snapped a 16-game goalless drought Tuesday night in Montreal, and with Hall acknowledging that there’s no reinventing the wheel when playing with players as good as Bergeron and Marchand.

    “Those are great players. They’re easy to play with, they’re very easy to read, they play a direct game, a North-South game,” Hall said of Bergeron and Marchand. “That’s a game that suits me so I’m excited.”

    As for the move from left to right, Hall has some familiarity with this on Boston’s third line, as natural left wing Trent Frederic would frequently veer to his left, which had Hall moving on to right wing mid-shift. And Bergeron and Marchand are also used to a left shot playing the right wing given DeBrusk’s time there.

    “We’re just gonna have an understanding that first guy back, if you end up on the left, I’ll play right,” Marchand said ahead of tonight’s tilt. “I’m not really too concerned about where we end up. We’re pretty much interchangeable on the wing there. It’s more just that we’re gonna be ready off each other when we come back in the zone. The more we talk out there, the easier it will be for the most part.”

  • WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period of the game at Capital One Arena on October 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 12: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period of the game at Capital One Arena. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

  • And with Hall moved up to the first line from the third line, the Bruins will reunite Craig Smith with Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic on Boston’s third line.

    This trio was one of Boston’s most effective lines last year, especially in the second half of the season. Deployed for over 328 minutes of five-on-five action last year, the Frederic-Coyle-Smith trio held an on-ice shot advantage of 171-143, and outscored opponents 17-8.

    That means that the Bruins will keep the Czeching Line together, with David Krejci between Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak, while Joona Koppanen will man the middle of Boston’s fourth line with Nick Foligno and A.J. Greer on the wings.

    Billerica native Marc McLaughlin, who joined the Bruins for this trip as their 13th forward, will sit as the B’s healthy scratch up front, and will be joined by Jakub Zboril.

  • Mar 3, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Boston Bruins center Craig Smith (12) celebrates with center Trent Frederic (11) and center Charlie Coyle (13) after scoring a first period goal against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 3, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Bruins center Craig Smith (12) celebrates with center Trent Frederic (11) and center Charlie Coyle (13) after scoring a goal against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)

  • In net, Linus Ullmark will get the call between the pipes.

    The 6-foot-5 Ullmark has been tremendous against the Lightning since joining the Bruins in 2021, with wins in all three of his starts against the Lightning and a .935 save percentage to go with that perfect 3-0-0 record.

    Ullmark stopped all 17 shots faced in last Sunday’s win over the Sharks.

    The Lightning are expected to counter with Andrei Vasilevskiy. The 28-year-old Vasilevskiy has wins in 21 of his 34 decisions this season, and is coming off a 33-of-35 win in his last outing.

  • Nov 21, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 21, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

  • The Bruins have won five straight games over the Lightning dating back to last season.

    In fact, Boston’s last loss to the Lightning came back on Dec. 4, 2021, and it’s certainly worth mentioning that the Bruins played that game without both Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy.

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