Boston Bruins

  • It would appear as if the Bruins have an Opening Night lineup on the board.

    After a considerable delay with the team’s finalized roster hitting the ol’ internet, largely due to a slew of paper transactions made by the team, Tuesday’s practice in Annapolis came with some clarity in regards to what Jim Montgomery is going to throw out there for his first game as the Black and Gold’s head coach.

    So, what are we lookin’ at here?

  • Forward lines

    Aug 23, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates with center David Krejci (46) and center Patrice Bergeron (37) after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in game one of the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 23, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) celebrates with center David Krejci (46) and center Patrice Bergeron (37) after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in game one of the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. (John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Taylor Hall – Patrice Bergeron – Jake DeBrusk

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 15: Taylor Hall #71 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Patrice Bergeron #37 after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden on April 15, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Islanders 4-1.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 15: Taylor Hall #71 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Patrice Bergeron #37 after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Staying in line with what the Bruins tried on Monday, it appears that Taylor Hall will move up from the second line to the first line and skate to the left of Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk.

    Injured in the team’s Oct. 1 preseason win over the Flyers, Hall steadily worked himself out of a non-contact sweater and back onto the ice despite a ‘week-to-week’ timeline, and declared himself ready to go for Wednesday’s opener in Washington following Monday’s session in Brighton.

    Bumping Hall up to Bergeron’s left gives that line a whole lot of speed on its wing, and with Hall looking to complement a Bergeron-DeBrusk duo that outshot opponents 258-122, out-chanced opponents 202-92, and outscored ’em 18-8 in over 302 minutes of five-of-five time together last season.

  • Pavel Zacha – David Krejci – David Pastrnak

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Pavel Zacha #18, David Pastrnak #88 and David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins celebrate a third period goal by Krejci against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 05: Pavel Zacha #18, David Pastrnak #88 and David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins celebrate a third period goal by Krejci against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    On line two, the Bruins want to get another look at their All-Czechia line with veteran David Krejci centering a line featuring Pavel Zacha on the left and David Pastrnak to the right.

    This line was straight-up dominant in their preseason debut — they held a 16-5 attempt edge (76.19 CF%), 10-3 edge in shots, and 4-0 edge in goals in 14:39 of work together in Manhattan — and though the sequel at home against the Devils wasn’t as strong, it’s still a trio Montgomery wants to see in meaningful action.

    This is a line that you can expect to get a ton of offensive-zone work, and one that will be headlined by the connection between Krejci and Pastrnak after a year apart with Krejci playing in his hometown.

    “I’m obviously really pumped,” Pastrnak said of his reunion with Krejci. “It’s so much fun playing with him. He’s an unbelievable playmaker. I grew up watching him play and I missed him so much last year when he wasn’t here. Not only as a player, but as a friend, too. It was a little challenging last year, but he’s back now and I’m obviously really happy and really excited that we get to play together.”

  • A.J. Greer – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith

    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 03: A.J. Greer #10 of the Boston Bruins is stopped by Vitek Vanecek #41 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period at the Prudential Center on October 03, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 03: A.J. Greer #10 of the Boston Bruins is stopped by Vitek Vanecek #41 of the New Jersey Devils during the first period at the Prudential Center on October 03, 2022. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Trent Frederic’s loss will be A.J. Greer’s gain, as the Bruins are expected to give the 26-year-old Greer a shot to stick with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith out of the gate in 2022-23.

    And Greer feels like a bit like a potentially souped-up Frederic in a lot of ways. At 6-foot-3, Greer is a touch bigger than Frederic, and he’s a noticeable faster skater. Greer is also a strong forechecking presence, and has surprised defenders on multiple occasions (sometimes his own teammates) with his ability to get in on the play. Greer, who produced at a point-per-game pace in the AHL a year ago, has also been waiting for this chance.

    “Honestly, yeah,” Greer said if he saw this moment coming for himself. “Like, I wouldn’t say right now and at this moment, I couldn’t predict that, but I always knew that it was going to come. That’s why I stayed ready. It’s a tough game when you’re up and down for the last six years and it doesn’t seem like there’s much hope. You know, you have a bad year or you have a couple of bad games and then you think that your NHL dreams are over. But it’s really those who persist that have success.

    “And I think it’s mentally really frustrating at times, but again, I always was a hard worker and I always was someone who had to grind my way out to places when I was young and up until now. So I never really gave up. And I knew that I had the ability to do it and I had to be ready once that time came.”

    It’s all been enough to leave the Bruins pleasant surprised and looking for more.

    “You look at a guy like AJ [Greer], who kind of surprised some of us,” Cam Neely noted. “We kind of knew what motor he has and what he’d bring. There’s a guy who’s not afraid of getting inside ice.”

  • Nick Foligno – Tomas Nosek – Jakub Lauko

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 15: Nick Foligno #17 of the Boston Bruins skates in his 1,000th NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 15, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MARCH 15: Nick Foligno #17 of the Boston Bruins skates in his 1,000th NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 15, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

    Nick Foligno’s ‘loan’ to the P-Bruin was a short one. In fact, his feet never landed in Providence.

    Waived by the Bruins on Sunday, unclaimed by the rest of the league and loaned to the AHL on Monday ahead of the team’s move to place to Charlie McAvoy on the long-term injured reserve, Foligno was ‘back’ at practice Tuesday and will skate to the left of Tomas Nosek and Jakub Lauko on Wednesday night against the Capitals.

    The 34-year-old Foligno, who finished his preseason with an assist in a losing effort against the Devils, is looking to rebound from a 2021-22 campaign that included just two goals in 64 games, and is looking to assert himself as an ‘identity’ piece of the Black and Gold’s fourth line.

    Lauko, meanwhile, will get his NHL chance after leaving an impression on Montgomery in camp.

    “His speed, his tenacity, and he’s fearless,” Montgomery said when asked how Lauko turned his training camp efforts into an NHL gig. “He’s fearless going to hard areas. So we think he brings energy to our group, and that speed element is something that we felt we needed in our lineup.”

  • Defensive pairings

    Nov 26, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) gets set for a face-off during the second period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 26, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) gets set for a face-off during the second period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Hampus Lindholm – Brandon Carlo

    May 12, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) checks Carolina Hurricanes center Derek Stepan (18) during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    May 12, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) checks Carolina Hurricanes center Derek Stepan (18) during the second period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    When camp began, Montgomery admitted that the plan was to keep Brandon Carlo and Hampus Lindholm on separate pairings to properly balance the Charlie McAvoy-less Boston defense. But plans have apparently changed on that front, as the Bruins appear set to go with a stacked de facto top pairing.

    The Bruins deployed the Lindholm-Carlo pairing for just over 20 minutes of five-on-five play last year, according to NaturalStatTrick, and the results were far from pretty, as the Bruins had an on-ice corsi-for percentage of just 25 percent and were outshot 17-6 and outscored 2-0. Sheesh!

    The good news is that the duo had a slightly better showing in the preseason, with the Bruins posting an on-ice corsi-for percentage of 47.37 percent and outshot by a 6-4 margin in over 18 minutes of five-on-five play with Lindholm and Carlo out there.

  • Derek Forbort – Jakub Zboril

    Sep 24, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril (67) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

    Sep 24, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril (67) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

    Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril’s strong preseason start was undoubtedly cooled with a minus-6 rating over his final two appearances, but the Bruins remain confident in where Zboril’s game is trending.

    “We have to remember that he is a young man who just came back from ACL reconstruction,” Montgomery said last week. “The more you play, the more you get the grind of it mentally [and] having to assert yourself again every game to prepare the right way and to make plays. When you’re coming back, you aren’t in a rhythm of playing a lot of hockey games in a short amount of time and he’s going through that right now.

    “We knew there were going to be moments where he wouldn’t be consistently good for us, just because of the fact that he was coming back from the injury and all of the time off.”

    Forbort, meanwhile, will remain the team’s left-side rock on the penalty kill.

  • Mike Reilly – Connor Clifton

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 09: Mike Reilly #6 of the Boston Bruins and Connor Clifton #75 talk during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on November 09, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 09: Mike Reilly #6 of the Boston Bruins and Connor Clifton #75 talk during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on November 09, 2021. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Another player waived ahead of McAvoy’s move to LTIR and then immediately recalled back to Boston, Mike Reilly is back with the Bruins and looking like a fit on the left side of the third pairing for Opening Night.

    The 6-foot-2 Reilly is coming off what was a strong preseason, with a goal and two assists in four games played. The left-shooting defenseman, who is on the hook for a $3 million cap hit through the 2023-24 season, is also healthier after undergoing offseason ankle surgery.

    And a Reilly-Clifton pairing isn’t exactly foreign to either player, as the Bruins have iced the pairing for over 288 minutes of five-on-five play since 2021. Their numbers over that stretch have been more than respectable, too, with a 55.88 corsi-for percentage, 181-134 shot advantage, and 14-6 scoring edge.

  • Goaltenders

    Feb 1, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) and goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) skates to the bench after a game against the Seattle Kraken at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 1, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) and goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) skates to the bench after a game against the Seattle Kraken at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    One thing Montgomery would not commit to following Tuesday’s practice was his Game 1 starter. But when talking about Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark, that really doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, as the B’s seem committed to going with a near completely even split down the middle once again.

    “I think a lot of credit has to go to Bob Essensa. He’s done a great job developing the relationship with the goalies, making sure that the Bruins get excellent goaltending throughout the regular season to be able to have the opportunity to get in the playoffs,” Montgomery said. “I think everyone would say, ideally, you have a number one by the time you get into the playoffs and after the trade deadline. That’s up to one of those two goaltenders to emerge ahead of the other.

    “In today’s NHL, to have success in the regular season, with as many threes and fours as you have. You have to have two goalies that can do the job night in and night out.”

  • Scratches, injured players

    Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins in the first period at Crypto.com Arena on February 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 – Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins gets ready before a faceoff in the first period at Crypto.com Arena on February 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Up front, Trent Frederic has been put on notice. It started Monday when team president Cam Neely admitted that the 2016 first-round pick did not have the camp that the Bruins wanted to see from him, and continued with Montgomery confirming that Frederic will begin the year as a healthy scratch.

    “Just be on top of pucks more. That was my message to him,” Montgomery said. “His practice yesterday was best practice he’s had, so he’s building the right way. And when he gets that opportunity to show us how he can hang on to pucks, how he can get to hard areas, and how he can change momentum of the games with his physicality is something that we’re going to need throughout the year. And once he gets in the lineup, I’m confident he’s going to show why I should’ve had him in since day one.”

    Frederic will be joined in the press box by Jack Studnicka.

    And the message to Studnicka will be similar to the one delivered to Frederic.

    “You know, you’ve made the team and when you get your chance and your opportunity to play, it’s your job to make it so hard for me [that] I can’t take you out,” Montgomery said when discussing what he’ll say to Studnicka after a strong preseason effort. “He had a good camp, but we’re going to play against Washington and we make decisions that we think give us the best opportunity to win tomorrow night.”

    The Bruins also have the 36-year-old Anton Stralman, who was in camp on a professional tryout, still with the team. The sides have yet to come to terms on a deal, but the belief is that one will get done.

    Health-wise, the Bruins will obviously begin the year without Brad Marchand (hip) or McAvoy (shoulder) available, but the good news is that Matt Grzelcyk remains ahead of schedule and will not begin the season on the long-term injured reserve. That ultimately means that the Bruins realistically expect to get the 5-foot-9 defender back in action sometime in the next few weeks.