Kelly bumped back to third-line center vs. Habs

Kelly bumped back to third-line center vs. Habs
January 30, 2014, 7:15 pm
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(AP Photo)

BOSTON – Coach Claude Julien is making some minor adjustments prior to Montreal’s first visit of the season to the TD Garden on Thursday night. This is the second-latest opening Habs visit in a regular season, behind only the 2000-01 NHL regular season when the Canadiens didn’t make it to the Hub of Hockey until Feb. 1.

The goaltenders were no surprise. It was Tuukka Rask for the Bruins and backup Peter Budaj for the Canadiens. The B’s did switch things up among their bottom six forwards while slotting Chris Kelly back as the third line center between Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson and reuniting the Merlot Line with Daniel Paille once again riding shotgun on the left side.

Otherwise the lineup is exactly the same as Julien isn’t exactly looking to rock the boat while riding a 5-0-1 streak. The hope is that the Black and Gold can continue that hot stretch of hockey through the next five games and then into the Olympic break. It should be a tough match, though. The past nine games between the Bruins and Habs have been one-goal games, dating all the way to 2011.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on the pregame warm-up:

Lucic-Krejci-Iginla
Marchand-Bergeron-Smith
Soderberg-Kelly-Eriksson
Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk
Bartkowski-Miller
Krug-Hamilton

Rask