(Photo Credit: Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis and Linktree

Boston Bruins fans across the country may have had the day off, but the Boston Bruins had to get down to work as they took on the ailing New Jersey Devils in a Martin Luther King Day Matinee. Here are three takeaways from the game:

New Look Lines

After an up-and-down road trip that saw the Bruins drop three straight games in overtime before righting the ship against St. Louis, head coach (and second-time all-star) Jim Montgomery decided to go back to the drawing board with his lines and roll out an almost entirely new lineup:

The new look lines worked well as Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak combined for both assists on Charlie Coyle’s 15th goal of the season. Coyle’s tally early in the second broke a scoreless tie after the Bruins dominated the first period. Throughout the game, Boston’s newest trio dominated the high-danger chances and scoring chances while on the ice.

The top line also took their talents to the powerplay, where Marchand, Coyle, and Pastrnak all skated together on the first unit. After an unsuccessful five-on-three early in the game, the top unit connected for David Pastrnak’s 26th goal of the season.

Trent Frederic finished off the scoring for the Bruins with a diving empty net goal that pinballed in off the post. After some sluggish offensive performances out west, Boston ended the game out-chancing the Devils 31-25 and posting 17 high-danger chances to New Jersey’s eight.

Swayman Shines

Jeremy Swayman was strong again in net for the Bruins, turning away …shots and keeping his teammates afloat when they took their foot off the gas in the second period. He finished the game with 31 saves and earned his third shutout of the season.

“When I look at Sway’s game, I think he continues to improve, he’s much better this year than last year,” said Jim Montgomery after today’s game. “Just his overall presence in the crease. I mean, he’s always had a swagger and a confidence to him, but now he really seems to be dialed in.”

The Alaska native has appeared in five straight games (including his relief appearance in Arizona). Over this stretch, he’s proved to fans and management that he’s more than capable of carrying the load of a true number-one goalie.

“It’s great to be able to see him have this opportunity,” said Jim Montgomery when asked about Swayman being given the net over the last stretch of games. “His makeup is someone that wants the net every night…his mental attitude and his positivity, he exudes it and it goes through our bench.”

Fans have been concerned about Swayman’s recent comments regarding just how negatively this summer’s arbitration hearing impacted him. He cleared the air in the postgame and put it on record that the past is in the past.

Bruins on the Mend

The biggest news the Bruins received on the day didn’t come from the ice but instead from the medical room. Jim Montgomery told reporters before the game that Brandon Carlo, Derek Forbort, Matt Poitras, and Linus Ullmall skated before the game today and are trending in the right direction.

Poitras (shoulder) and Ullmark (lower body) both left late on January 9th’s contest against the Arizona Coyotes with injuries, while Carlo (upper body) left the night prior’s contest in Colorado. Forbort’s last game was December 23rd against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Montgomery said all players are “trending well” but didn’t have specifics on their returns.

Game Notes:

  • Boston lit the lamp in the first period with a between-the-legs goal from James van Riemsdyk that was eventually taken off the board. The team’s powerplay looked noticeably better with JVR returning to the top unit.
  • Montgomery said Pavel Zacha was “less than 100 percent,” but his line with Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk had four high-danger chances, eight scoring chances, and created 14 shot attempts, good for most on the team
  • Parker Wotherspoon continues to be solid. Montgomery was asked about McAvoy’s play this season and he went out of his way to praise Wotherspoon’s recent performance.