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Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Dec 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) controls the puck while Columbus Blue Jackets center Kent Johnson (91) defends during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

When the Bruins take the ice for Wednesday’s head-to-head with the Oilers up at Edmonton’s Rogers Place, they will be without their left-side defensive rock, according to the team.

And that’ll remain the case for the foreseeable future. That’s because defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who left Monday’s game with an injury after an awkward-looking collision to the left of Jeremy Swayman’s net in the third period, is not even with the team right now, and has been tagged with a ‘week-to-week’ injury designation.

“Hampus is not on the trip,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery confirmed following his team’s morning skate. “He’s week-to-week [and] will not play the four games on the trip.”

  • Now, the good news within that update is that Lindholm will not require surgery, and it’s “not even an option” according to Montgomery.

    But in the now, it does leave the Bruins down their second-best defenseman, and on a four-game swing that’ll include showdowns with the third-best and fifth-best home offenses between the Oilers and Canucks.

  • BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 15: Hampus Lindholm #27 of the Boston Bruins checks Oliver Bjorkstrand #22 of the Seattle Kraken off the puck during the second period at TD Garden on February 15, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 15: Hampus Lindholm #27 of the Boston Bruins checks Oliver Bjorkstrand #22 of the Seattle Kraken off the puck during the second period at TD Garden on February 15, 2024. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

    In action for all 56 games this season, the 6-foot-4 Lindholm has recorded one goal and 19 points, along with a plus-19 rating, for the Bruins this season, and was being utilized in a defense-heavy role (and that may even be putting it lightly) opposite Brandon Carlo on the Black and Gold’s second pairing.

    Among a group of 92 NHL defensemen to play at least 800 five-on-five minutes this season, Lindholm ranked first in defensive-zone starts (198), and fifth in defensive-zone faceoffs (367). Lindholm also logged the 19th-most minutes among that group of 92, at 1,001:57 five-on-five minutes prior to his injury.

    Expanding that to ‘all situation’ minutes, factoring in Lindholm’s work on both the power play and penalty kill, Lindholm’s total time on ice jumps up to 14th, at 1,327:25.

    And that workload almost always saw Lindholm and Carlo go against the opposition’s top offensive line.

    In essence, the usage has been fast and furious for Lindholm.

  • Nov 25, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) looks to pass against the New York Rangers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 25, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) looks to pass against the New York Rangers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. (Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports)

    And for as frustrating a year as Lindholm has had, at least when it’s come to replicating last year’s 53-point and plus-49 campaign, that’s difficult usage to simply replace with a plug-and-play option.

    Especially when looking at some of the game-to-game struggles the Bruins have dealt with elsewhere on the left side of their defense, with both Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort struggling at various points this season.

    But this is just the latest tough hand dealt to the left side of the defense, and with two options back in the mix for Boston ahead of Wednesday’s stiff test against Connor McDavid’s club.

  • Oct. 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Mason Lohrei (6) gets set for a face-off during overtime against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct. 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Mason Lohrei (6) gets set for a face-off during overtime against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    When it come to ‘replacing’ Lindholm, it appears that the freshly-recalled Mason Lohrei will be the first man up for the Bruins, as he skated to the left of Carlo at Wednesday’s morning skate.

    Lohrei is back with the Bruins after a seven-game excursion back down in Providence, where he scored one goal and seven points, and returns to the NHL with three goals and six points in 27 NHL games this season.

    Now, this isn’t too dissimilar from when we first saw Lohrei, as the Bruins had to throw him into a top-four role against the Maple Leafs in his NHL debut.

    Per NaturalStatTrick, the Lohrei-Carlo pairing has played almost 59 minutes of five-on-five time together. Over that span, the Bruins have outscored the opposition 4-3 despite being outshot 32-27 and out-chanced 29-21.

  • Dec 15, 2023; Elmont, New York, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Parker Wotherspoon (29) during the second period against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 15, 2023; Elmont, New York, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Parker Wotherspoon (29) during the second period against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

    The Bruins will also dress Parker Wotherspoon for tonight’s contest, though it appears that his reintroduction to the Boston lineup will come on the right side, with Wotherspoon slated to skate in Kevin Shattenkirk’s spot to the right of Derek Forbort.

    Lindholm’s absence, meanwhile, means that the Bruins will not have a defenseman who appears in every game this season. The list of Boston skaters to appear in every game this season is also down to just four, with Charlie Coyle, Trent Frederic, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak the only players to go 56-for-56 thus far.

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