WILMINGTON, Mass. – The Bruins were back at it for another day of practice at Ristuccia Arena in preparation for the upcoming Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Claude Julien was shuffling things up a bit.
While Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg started practice skating together as a pairing -- and are expected to be together and locked up against Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Jarome Iginla when the series opens in Pittsburgh on Saturday night -- they were split up later on in the practice session as defensemen mixed in and out of different pairings.
At points Chara was paired with Johnny Boychuk, and Seidenberg was skating with 24-year-old rookie Matt Bartkowski while Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid appear solid as the third defensemen pairing. Julien will likely do plenty of switching at practice this week in anticipation of matching up with Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma when the Penguins have last change at the CONSOL Energy Center.
Julien customarily puts Chara out with a defenseman from a different pairing on the ice for face-offs, and then will switch that D-Man out for Seidenberg if Malkin’s heavy forward line is out on the ice.
That will leave Patrice Bergeron’s line with the responsibility of matching up with Sidney Crosby and Co., and that’s an assignment that they’ve regularly upheld over the last few years when facing the Penguins.
The forward spots were steady at Wednesday’s practice, and it doesn’t appear any shakeups are coming there, as Julien was very complimentary of both Jaromir Jagr and Tyler Seguin over the last couple of days.
Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Wednesday’s practice: