Boston Bruins

  • It’s been a damn-near perfect start to the season for the Atlantic-best Bruins.

    With wins in five of their first six games of the season, Jim Montgomery’s squad has certainly done more than ‘tread water’ out of the game this season with Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy unavailable.

    But that won’t stop Montgomery & Co. from some additional lineup tinkering — be in the name of some welcomed health or keeping other guys (and internal competition) fresh — ahead of Tuesday’s home showdown with the Dallas Stars.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 15: A.J. Greer #10 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring a goal against the Arizona Coyotes during the third period at TD Garden on October 15, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Coyotes 6-3.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 15: A.J. Greer #10 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring a goal against the Arizona Coyotes during the third period at TD Garden on October 15, 2022. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • Up front, the change will come with the return of A.J. Greer after sitting out last Saturday’s win.

    Going back to last Saturday’s scratch, Montgomery and the Bruins sat Greer for no other reason than it was their fifth game in eight days and they wanted to keep everyone’s legs fresh. Montgomery referenced how you can’t give a ‘rest’ day to guys like David Pastrnak, which was basically another way of saying that the bottom-six rotation is something that we should probably get used to in these heavier weeks of the schedule.

    The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Greer has been found money for the Bruins this season, and really grabbed hold of his NHL opportunity, with three goals and five points in five games played. The 25-year-old has also totaled a forward-leading 17 hits over that five-game run, which is actually just three behind Connor Clifton for the most among all Black and Gold skaters through the first two weeks of the season.

    Greer, who is averaging 10:39 of time on ice per game this season, is expected to play his off wing and skate to the right of Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek on Boston’s fourth line.

    With Greer in, the Bruins will scratch Jakub Lauko from the lineup. Lauko has one assist, along with six hits and five shots on goal, and has drawn three penalties through four games this season.

    Lauko’s exit from the lineup also means that Craig Smith, who was a healthy scratch twice last week before returning to action last Saturday, will remain in the lineup. Smith recorded an assist in 12:20 against the Wild.

  • TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Brandon Carlo #25 of the Boston Bruins gets set to make a pass against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

    TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 6: Brandon Carlo #25 of the Boston Bruins gets set to make a pass against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021 in Toronto. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

  • On the backend, Brandon Carlo will return to action after missing the last four games with a concussion.

    Calendar-wise, Carlo’s return comes with just 10 days between the concussion knocked him out of the team’s home opener and tonight’s contest. It’s certainly a bit unnerving, as Carlo outright admitted that he lost vision in one of eyes for a moment after the concussion (Marc Savard said the same thing on his final concussion), but the 6-foot-5 has been adamant that he’s good to go. Monday’s practice, which saw Carlo don a regular jersey instead of the red non-contact jersey worn last Friday, confirmed that from the B’s point of view.

    “Talking with the doctors, it’s kind of about the severity of the concussions and how long you’re out. If you can bounce back and recover well, it shows that everything is leading in the right direction,” Carlo said. “I think from a hockey aspect, I still feel very good [and] not unsafe to play by any means. With these things, it’s hard because you want to be reliable for your team and what not, and in these situations it’s a weird injury where you can’t really see it besides what I’ve been experiencing with it all. It’s hard.”

    Carlo, who has five diagnosed concussions to his name since Apr. 2017, finished Opening Night against the Capitals with a plus-1 rating, along with six hits and three blocked shots, in 18:50 of ice.

  • Nov 26, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril (67) during the first 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 Jakub Zboril (67) during the first period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • With Carlo back, Jakub Zboril will move out of frame as a healthy scratch.

    It’s been a relatively quiet start to the year for the 6-foot-1 lefty, who is still looking for his first point of the season and has just six hits, six blocks, and four shots on goal through six appearances. The Bruins have noticed that, too, and have relayed a simple message to Zboril.

    “There’s areas of his game we want him to be more assertive in,” Montgomery said Tuesday. “And we’ve talked to him about that. We need to see him apply that in our practices to get back in the lineup, and he knows it.

    “He’s coming off knee surgery, so there’s going to be growing pains with that. It’s not right away he’s gonna be a confident NHL player and play night-in, night-out for us. We expected that. But we expect him to be a big part of the Bruins during the course of this season. And for his personal growth, there’s a huge space there that I think he can attain.”

  • Oct 20, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) blocks a shot from Anaheim Ducks left wing Max Comtois (44) during a shootout at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 20, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) blocks a shot from Anaheim Ducks left wing Max Comtois (44) during a shootout at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

  • The Bruins will not, however, make a change in net, as Linus Ullmark will make his third straight start.

    Montgomery has been open about how hard it’s been to go away from the ‘hot hand’ of Ullmark, who has compiled four wins in as many decisions and posted a .929 save percentage, and back to Jeremy Swayman. But with this being the start of a three-in-four stretch for the Bruins, Swayman’s return is coming either Thursday night at home against the Red Wings or Friday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.

    Ullmark stopped 24-of-27 in last Saturday’s overtime win over the Wild.