Boston Bruins

Mar 24, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) gets set for a face off during the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

With their season on line Thursday night at TD Garden, the Bruins will get at least one boost from the backend, with Hampus Lindholm set to return to action after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury.

Injured on a hit by Andrei Svechnikov in the second period of Game 2, Lindholm was in attendance for Game 3 at TD Garden, and worked out on his own and with the team during their time in Boston. There was even some hope that Lindholm was going to be able to rejoin the lineup for Game 5 in Carolina after skating with teammates Monday, but the 6-foot-4 defender ultimately didn’t feel well enough to travel down to Carolina with the team.

Still, a three-game absence is probably best case scenario given how Lindholm looked staggering off the ice in Raleigh.

“It was pretty quick, actually,” Lindholm, who did not want to comment on whether or not he felt the hit was dirty or clean, said of his recovery. “Luckily, I’m in good enough shape to take it in a good way and luckily I didn’t take it worse.”

The Bruins expect to put Lindholm right back to the left of Charlie McAvoy, fresh off a return to action himself, on the Black and Gold’s top pairing. Lindholm totaled five assists and a plus-10 rating, along with 15 hits and 15 blocks shots, during his 10-game regular season sample with the Bruins, and has averaged 18:25 of time on ice per game this postseason.

“It’s playoffs. This is what you work for, and this is one of those games you play at home here, so it’s going to be fun to go out there and have the crowd behind us,” said Lindholm.

  • Mar 1, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) looks on during the second period against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 1, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) looks on during the second period against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. (Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports)

    With Lindholm in, the Bruins will sit Matt Grzlecyk as the odd-man out on the backend.

    You can call it a ‘somewhat healthy’ scratch for the 5-foot-9 Grzelcyk. In what’s been a series to forget for Grzelcyk, who got called for two penalties and a lost battle that opened Carolina’s scoring in Game 5, the word is that Grzelcyk is and has been battling through an upper-body injury and still isn’t 100 percent.

    “Well, Grz is playing through a little bit of stuff, we know that,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy acknowledged Thursday morning. “He has been throughout the year. We’ve given him certain nights to recover and we just feel that now is one of those times where we’re gonna do that again.”

  • 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)

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

    The Bruins will also make a change up front, with Trent Frederic slated to sub in for Chris Wagner.

    Frederic’s rejoining of the Boston lineup will put him back with his linemates for the second half of the 2021-22 season, with Frederic skating to the left of Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith on Boston’s third line. The Bruins scratched Frederic after he logged a team-low 6:00 in a Game 2 loss. Frederic’s actually logged just 2:52 more time on ice than penalty minutes assessed through two games (16:52 of ice time compared to 14 minutes of penalties) this postseason, and his Game 2 interference penalty was a costly one for the Bruins.

    “Just complement that line,” Cassidy said of the message to Frederic. “Be heavy on the puck. There’s a lot of man-to-man situations. They’re a good checking team [and] they get on you in a hurry, so be on your toes. That’s one thing we have to remind Frederic of. Move your feet, be on your toes, ready for pressure, use your big frame, use your shot when it’s time to do that, [and] manage your emotions.

    “Don’t chase the game, right? If there’s physical contact to be made there and it’s in your area, do it. If not, then check well with your feet, stick on the ice, and help the line play a 200-foot game.

    “It’s the same message it’s always been, and hopefully he’s ready to go.”

  • Apr 23, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) congratulates left wing Taylor Hall (71) after assisting on HallÕs goal during the second period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. The assist was PastrnakÕs 500th career point. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 23, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) congratulates left wing Taylor Hall (71) after assisting on Hall’s goal during the second period against the New York Rangers. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

    Reuniting Frederic with Coyle and Smith is a throwback to what was working for the Bruins down the stretch, and it’s an approach Cassidy is applying to all four of his lines.

    That means that David Pastrnak is expected to begin the night on the right side of a second line with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula. That reunion will put Jake DeBrusk back with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the B’s first line, and give the Bruins a fourth line featuring Tomas Nosek between Nick Foligno and Curtis Lazar.

    “That’s just going back to what we were successful [with] for the second half of the year [and] how we started the series, essentially,” Cassidy said of the reunions across the board. “We made an adjustment in Game 3 we felt we needed to make. But we always felt we’d like to get back to when we were playing our best hockey.

    “We’re gonna do it from the start tonight and we’ll see how it goes. We know we can shuffle pieces but that’s how we’re doing it tonight.”

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 06: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period of Game Three of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden on May 06, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 06: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period of Game Three of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    In net, the Bruins will stick with Jeremy Swayman for his fourth straight start. This will mark the first time in Swayman’s NHL career that he’s started four straight contests. But the Bruins aren’t stressed about any potential fatigue issues when it comes to their 23-year-old netminder.

    Instead, they’re focused on Swayman starting strong like he did in Games 3 and 4 in Boston.

    “We need that timely save early on,” Cassidy said. “What it comes down, to me, is a little bit of what’s happening is like I’ll go to Game 3; Big big saves early on on [Tony] DeAngelo and that breakaway on [Jordan] Martinook. It gives us a little bit of, ‘Hey, let’s find our game.’ Even though they scored first, I thought those were important, timely saves.”

    The Bruins are 6-3 in must-win Game 6 contests since 2008, and are 2-2 in such contests under Bruce Cassidy.