Bruins third line faces a challenge in Montreal

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Bruins third line faces a challenge in Montreal

MONTREAL Chris Bourque is clearly hoping he and his third line teammates can build off the game-winning goal they scored against the Maple Leafs last weekend.

It was Bourques first goal of the season and the first meaningful contribution that Bourque, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley have made to the Bruins young season after a sluggish start. Peverley and Kelly had been slowly building to that over the previous few games, and Bourque made his splash after returning from a one-game sentence as a healthy scratch.

The trio is obviously hoping to keep the offensive train moving forward, but theyll also inherit some defensive responsibilities against a Montreal team that boasts more depth than they have in quite some time. The emergence of rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher on the Habs third line along with rugged big body Brandon Prust gives Montreal some Bruins-like depth up front.

Galchenyuk leads all Montreal forwards with six assists and Gallagher is a team-best plus-six on the season, and theyve given Montreal an infusion of youth and excitement similar to the ones Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton have provided over the last few years.

Thats the kind of defensive challenge the Bs third line will meet if it develops as it did against the forward line of Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin and Leo Komarov in slim victory over the Leafs. Granted names like Prust and Galchenyuk automatically make the Montreal line a little more lethal, but Bourque and Co. have their minds right in the confidence department heading into the battle for first place.

Last game we went up against a pretty hot line with the Nazem Kadri line in Toronto and we did a solid job against them, said Bourque. We should be able to do the same against these guys. Theyre putting up some good numbers and theyve had some early success, so hopefully we can keep it in their end and play offense.

Theyve got a lot of small, crafty forwards with good speed, so we need to back-check to slow them down a little bit.

The match-up illustrated one very tangible side effect of the fourth-line injuries to Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille: The Bs third line has to shoulder a bigger burden at both ends of the ice with a trio of unproven rookies on the fourth line unlikely to garner much more than 5-10 minutes of ice time at the most.

That means the third line performances could go a long way toward determining the winner and loser on rivalry night at the Bell Centre.

What we learned: Bruins 2, Sharks 1

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What we learned: Bruins 2, Sharks 1

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Morning Skate: Asking price on Shattenkirk should scare off Bruins

Morning Skate: Asking price on Shattenkirk should scare off Bruins

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after watching the Boston Celtics take a hard pass on the Boogie. 
 
-- Bob McKenzie sits in with the good folks at TSN 1200 Ottawa sports radio and talks a little Claude Julien of the Montreal Canadiens

-- The Avalanche youth movement is set to begin as quickly as March 1, as Colorado may move some of its veteran players at the trade deadline. 
 
-- Ryan Johansen got snubbed in his return to Columbus for the first time as a member of the Nashville Predators. That’s too bad, but it’s also not exactly Wayne Gretzky returning to the Edmonton Oilers for the first time. 
 
-- The price tag for Kevin Shattenkirk is in and it includes a top prospect and a first-round pick, along with another piece, for a rental defenseman. That should be far too rich for the Bruins’ blood. The B's were already intent on avoiding the rental market ahead of the trade deadline, and the steep price -- even for a potentially useful short-term acquisition like the puck-moving Shattenkirk -- should make that even more of a certainty. 
 
-- Ken Campbell asks whether hockey agents have gone too far in chasing after prospective prospects before they even enter their teenage years. 

 -- Bobby Ryan has a hand injury that’s going to sideline him, another piece of bad luck for the Senators forward. 
 
-- For something completely different: On President’s Day, it seems only natural to go through the favorite Presidents in the history of the Marvel Universe.