Boston Bruins

  • The shuffling won’t stop for the surging Bruins on Tuesday night, as Jim Montgomery’s roster will welcome Brad Marchand back to the lineup after the team sat Marchand for last Friday’s win over the Blue Jackets.

    That decision had nothing to do with Marchand’s play (and how could it after he stole the show last week in his debut?) and everything to do with his health, as the Bruins stuck to their script of holding Marchand out of the second leg of back-to-backs as he works his way back from offseason double-hip surgery.

    “He’s got the heart of a champion,” Montgomery said of Marchand following the team’s morning skate in Pittsburgh. “It’s just that simple. He’s not the lion in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ that’s for sure.”

  • With Marchand back, veteran wing Craig Smith will sit, but not as a healthy scratch. He’s dealing with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day, according to Montgomery.

    It’s unclear exactly what’s ailing Smith, but it is worth noting that Smith appeared to shake at his hand in discomfort following a shot on goal in the third period of Friday’s win over Columbus.

    Smith’s absence, coupled with Marchand’s return, will open up a spot on Boston’s third line to the right of Trent Frederic and Charle Coyle, which will be manned by A.J. Greer. The 6-foot-3 Greer, who finished Friday’s win with two blocked shots in 12:42 of time on ice, has three goals and five points in seven games this season.

  • Jan 15, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Boston Bruins center Craig Smith (12) during the second period against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 15, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Craig Smith (12) during the second period against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • And with David Krejci still out of the mix for the Bruins due to an upper-body injury, Pavel Zacha will remain in the middle of the Black and Gold’s second with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak on the wings.

    This will be the second time that Zacha, who finished with an assist and a plus-2 rating in 16:50 of time on ice last Friday, has been asked to center that line, and with another showing likely on deck for Thursday in NYC.

    “[Zacha] did a lot of good things,” Montgomery said of Zacha’s performance as a Krejci fill-in. “I thought he transported really well, thought he drove the play, and I thought he did a good job of getting pucks out to Hall and Pasta. And [in the] D-zone, he was closing quicker than we expected.

    “It’s not an easy D-zone coverage for centers and he grasped it, and he’s getting better and better at it.”

  • Oct 27, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) is congratulated by left wing Brad Marchand (63), defenseman Derek Forbort (28) and defenseman Connor Clifton (75) after scoring against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 27, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) is congratulated by left wing Brad Marchand (63), defenseman Derek Forbort (28) and defenseman Connor Clifton (75) after scoring against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

  • On the backend, the Bruins will stick with what worked last Friday in Columbus, with Brandon Carlo expected to skate opposite Hampus Lindholm on the B’s top pairing. That will keep Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton together as the second pairing, and put Anton Stralman to the right of Matt Grzelcyk on Boston’s third pairing.

    Montgomery has been extremely impressed with the play of both Clifton and Forbort from the start this season, while Stralman’s effort was an obvious improvement from his early-season debut in Ottawa.

    “Only upwards,” Montgomery said Tuesday when asked where Stralman’s game can go from here. “I thought he played really well last game. And a smart player like him, I was surprised at how physical he was last game. He’s just someone that keeps making us better.” 

    Linus Ullmark will get the call in net for the Bruins, and will go against the Penguins’ Tristan Jarry.

    The Bruins are riding a five-game winning streak coming into this game (and the Penguins are on a four-game skid in the other direction), but the B’s also come into tonight’s game with wins in just two of their last 11 visits to Pittsburgh dating back to Dec. 2016.