Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

ELMONT, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on January 18, 2023 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Speaking with reporters following an optional morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery opted not to share his lines, pairings, or starting goaltender for tonight’s Game 1 showdown with the Panthers.

Not because he doesn’t want to give Paul Maurice and the Panthers a head start on their preparation, but rather because he truly cannot tell you who will and won’t be in his lineup.

“We have not only [Patrice] Bergeron, but a couple guys [who] have been under the weather, so, I don’t have a definitive lineup right now for tonight,” Montgomery revealed.

  • Not exactly the start the Bruins envisioned for their first game of what they hope will be a two-month run to a Stanley Cup, Montgomery would admit.

    “A little bit,” Montgomery said when asked how disconcerting that was. “I’d love to come in here and tell you our exact lines and D pairings and who is starting in nets.”

    Rumblings over a virus going through the locker room have grown over the last week plus, with David Pastrnak gutting through something when the Bruins downed the Maple Leafs at home late in the regular season, and with Jakub Lauko a scratch from that game with an illness. Tomas Nosek also dealt with the illness late in the year.

    “There is,” Montgomery confirmed when asked if there is a ‘bug’ going around the B’s room. “It’s been like probably 10 days to two weeks it’s been going around.”

    For the context of how much this virus has sucked for those who have contracted it, Montgomery noted that Lauko lost eight pounds from his bout with it.

    On Sunday, both Bergeron and Jeremy Swayman were absent from practice due to the illness.

  • Feb 1, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, forward Brad Marchand (63) and forward Patrice Bergeron (37) on the bench against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 1, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, forward Brad Marchand (63) and forward Patrice Bergeron (37) on the bench against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. (John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports)

  • In the case of Bergeron, the Bruins are going to need to see how he feels before committing to saying that he is in or out. Bergeron was not on the ice for the optional morning skate, and was not on the ice for either one of the practices this past weekend. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney did his part to calm any panic over his absence from those practices, noting that Bergeron is not someone who needs extra practice to be game ready.

    His presence in pregame warmups — namely whether or not he’s in them — should be a tell in regards to his status.

    Bergeron has played through far worse than a ‘nagging’ upper-body injury and an illness. If he doesn’t play, it’s because he quite literally is unable to be on the ice or bench without getting sick.

  • DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 7: Linus Ullmark #35 of the Boston Bruins skates to the net during the second period of a game against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena on December 7, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

    DENVER, COLORADO – DECEMBER 7: Linus Ullmark #35 of the Boston Bruins skates to the net during the second period of a game against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena on December 7, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

  • In net, Linus Ullmark remains the projected starter, but Montgomery wouldn’t outright commit to it.

    “We’re just gonna see how he feels this morning,” Montgomery said when asked if Ullmark was questionable due to the illness within the room or the injury that he dealt with in the 81st game of the regular season.

    Ullmark was on the ice (it was his third day in a row on the ice) with Swayman for the optional morning skate, and Ullmark departed the ice before Swayman, which is often the case for that night’s starter.

    The Bruins also acknowledged that Swayman may be a game-time decision himself, as he is currently dealing with the illness that’s infected the Boston room.

    It’s why the team recalled Brandon Bussi from Providence on an emergency basis. Bussi will be with the team to jump onto the bench or into the game if the Bruins either lose a goalie during the game or have to rule one of them out ahead of puck drop.

    Ullmark went 2-0-0 with a .925 save percentage in two head-to-heads with the Panthers this season, while Swayman went 0-1-1 with an .881 save percentage in his two showdowns with Florida.

    Bussi, of course, has never appeared in an NHL game.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 06: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on April 06, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 06: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on April 06, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • But in a day full of unknowns, the Bruins did have encouraging updates on two of their depth pieces.

    Up front, Nick Foligno is a ‘strong possibility’ to suit up for Montgomery’s squad.

    Injured on a hit from Nikita Zadorov in a Feb. 28 game against the Flames, Foligno missed the final month and change of the regular season, but essentially declared himself ready this past weekend.

    Assuming health elsewhere on the roster, the 35-year-old would most likely skate to the left of Tomas Nosek and Garnet Hathaway on the Black and Gold’s fourth line.

  • Feb 16, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) waits for a face off during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 16, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) waits for a face off during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

  • And on the backend, defenseman Derek Forbort is ‘definitively in’ for tonight’s game, according to Montgomery.

    Hobbled by a shot off the ankle in the team’s Mar. 16 win over the Jets, Forbort is expected to skate opposite Connor Clifton on Boston’s third pairing.

    With Forbort expected in, Matt Grzelcyk is expected to join Jakub Zboril as the healthy scratches on the point.

  • Feb 25, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort (28) skates between play during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 25, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort (28) skates between play during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. (Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports)

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