Pandolfo-for-Thornton move has ripple effect

Pandolfo-for-Thornton move has ripple effect
March 2, 2013, 11:45 pm
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It was slightly eyebrow-raising that Jay Pandolfo was inserted into the Bruins lineup amid a five-game winning streak, and it had some ripple effect with the bottom six forward lines.

Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton was a healthy scratch for the first time this season to make room for the 38-year-old Burlington native, who was installed on the fourth line right wing. Left wing Chris Bourque was also dropped down to the fourth line with Gregory Campbell, and Daniel Paille was lifted to the third along with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly.

The switched combinations did lead to a Peverley one-timer in the second period that helped the Bruins pull off the 3-2 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but Claude Julien said the changes were made for defensive purposes. Switching Thornton for Pandolfo allowed the B’s coaching staff more defensive options against the high-powered Lightning.

“Tonight was one of those situations where you take a guy like Thorny out and you do lose some toughness. But we’ve got other guys that could still do the job, but what we were trying to do is get a balance there with [Daniel Paille] on the third line,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “It allowed me to play any one of those three lines against their top two, and they utilize those lines a lot.

“When you’ve got back to back games you’ve got to make sure that you don’t overtax your players. That gave us three good lines, and I thought even the Campbell line did a pretty good job tonight as well…so it had a little bit more balance. Those are opportunities for us to get some of those players in our lineup and move other players around.”

Pandolfo also kicked in with 2:56 of shorthanded ice time as the Lightning enjoyed eight power-play chances in the game. He looked pretty good for a guy that had played only one other games over the past couple weeks. It turned out to be a very good spot for the Bruins coaching staff to insert the veteran back into the lineup before being forced into it by injuries.

“I have done it my whole career. It was good to get a chance out there,” said Pandolfo. “This team has obviously done very well and I just want to fit in. I have been at meetings and practices. I just kind of watch what the other guys were doing.”

Pandolfo was doing rather than watching on Saturday afternoon, and once again showed the kind of options that the Bruins coaching staff right now with good health and solid depth on their side.