Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Jim Montgomery of the Boston Bruins talks with the media after a game at TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

With a magical season on the line in a Game 7 showdown Sunday night at TD Garden, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery decided not to begin his day by giving Paul Maurice and the Panthers any free information.

On the ice for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, Montgomery and the Bruins opted not to go through any even-strength line rushes. The closest thing you got were two-on-one rushes. The Bruins also opted not to run through any power-play work, and both goaltenders hit the ice at the same time.

Montgomery took a similar approach at the podium, too.

  • “No, I’m not gonna tell you who my goalie is,” Montgomery said when asked if he wanted to tell us if it would be Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark getting the call for Boston’s do-or-die Game 7.

    Montgomery has been pretty open about his plans in net in this series. But with this being an all or nothing night for the Bruins, Montgomery has decided not to make it easy on the Panthers’ coaches and video team.

    Speaking on Saturday, Montgomery said that the only reason they’d turn away from Ullmark is because Ullmark did not make enough saves. Montgomery also praised Swayman’s confidence (he called him the most confident individual he knows) and the stage seems set for Swayman to make the start in Game 7.

    Multiple sources told 98.5 The Sports Hub late Saturday night that the expectation was that it would be Swayman in net for the Bruins.

  • 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)

  • And if you’re into reading into things, it feels worth mentioning that Swayman was the first goaltender off the ice for the Bruins at the morning skate, while Ullmark stayed out for some extra work with the projected scratches. This is the first time that has been the case since the playoffs began.

    This could be the Bruins throwing everyone the curviest of curveballs, but again, all signs point to No. 1 in net.

    Swayman, who has not started a game since Boston’s regular-season finale back on Apr. 13, has a 3-3 record and .907 save percentage in seven career playoff appearances.

  • SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 21: Head coach Jim Montgomery of the Boston Bruins looks on during third period action against the Florida Panthers in Game Three of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the FLA Live Arena on April 21, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

    SUNRISE, FL – APRIL 21: Head coach Jim Montgomery of the Boston Bruins looks on during third period action against the Florida Panthers in Game 3 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the FLA Live Arena on April 21, 2023. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

  • But the projected tinkering doesn’t seem likely to stop in net.

    Asked if there would be any lineup changes, Montgomery offered a noncommital “there might be.”

    But based on how things looked this morning, the Bruins appear poised to slot Trent Frederic back into action.

    Scratched from Games 5 and 6 with what Montgomery called a ‘gut feeling’, Frederic was not among the group of skaters who hung around for extra work following the conclusion of the morning skate.

    Despite not recording a goal or assist in four playoff games prior to his scratching, Frederic had strong underlying numbers, and ranked sixth on the team in individual expected goals (0.70), fifth in individual scoring chances for (7), and his four individual high-danger scoring chances ranked third on the team.

    Frederic’s expected return to action aligns Nick Foligno as the likely odd man out for the B’s forward group.

  • Feb 18, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) waits for the puck against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 18, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) waits for the puck against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • On defense, Matt Grzelcyk also looks likely to rejoin the lineup after he found himself in the press box as the proverbial seventh defenseman in Boston’s Game 6 loss in Sunrise.

    Boston’s decision to sit one of their best skating defensemen — and a defenseman who helps out an absolute ton in the breakout and transition game, at that — absolutely backfired in Game 6. Especially with Connor Clifton, who drew into the lineup over Grzelcyk, tagged for two giveaways that ended up in the back of the B’s net in a 7-5 loss.

    The Bruins have out-attempted the Panthers 47-36, and broken even in both shots (22-22) and goals (2-2) in 37 minutes with Grzelcyk on the ice at five-on-five play in this series.

    With Grzelcyk back in, Clifton appears bound for the press box as a healthy scratch.

  • Dec 9, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 9, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Again, until the pregame warmup (and perhaps until the lineups are posted), these are all mere expectations based on deductive reasoning and context clues from a quicker-than-normal morning skate.

    And with no shortage of tough calls for Montgomery and the Bruins.

    “My trust is in Goalie Bob and his feel for the goalies, and it’s the same thing and it’s not only [at] goalie,” Montgomery offered. “If we make a change at any position, it’s really hard because we have a group that has given everything to the team all year and everybody wants to play in a Game 7.”

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