Boston Bruins

Feb 10, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) makes a save as Carolina Hurricanes center Derek Stepan (18) and defenseman Derek Forbort (28) look for the rebound during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

  • Tuesday came with a move out of last Saturday’s ‘no bad news’ to straight-up good news for the Bruins, who will have at least three players back in action for a showdown with the Lightning at TD Garden.

    “[Derek] Forbort’s in, [Trent Frederic] is in, and our goaltender is available to play,” B’s coach Jim Montgomery said following a morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena.

    That, in case you don’t have your injury tracker handy, means that every injured player but Craig Smith will be ready to go for another iron-on-iron Atlantic Division dance.

  • The big boost will come on the backend, with the 6-foot-4 Forbort set to return to the Boston blue line after missing the previous 11 games due to a broken middle finger on his right hand.

    “I’ve blocked a lot of shots, and for some reason a little wrister from the point broke [my finger],” Forbort said. “It started out with a lot of mobility, trying to get the range of motion back in the finger and just from there building strength.”

    Injured in the first period of the team’s Nov. 1 win over the Penguins, Forbort had been skating on his own prior to rejoining the Bruins at practice last week in Florida, meaning his conditioning shouldn’t be of concern.

    The Bruins are likely to put Forbort back with Connor Clifton on the Black and Gold’s third pair.

  • TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Derek Forbort #28 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck from a checking William Nylander #88 of 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: Derek Forbort #28 of the Bruins skates with the puck from a checking William Nylander #88 of the Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

  • But where the Bruins will hope to see a lift with Forbort is on their penalty kill, which has surrendered power-play goals in six straight games (their longest such streak since last season during their COVID issues), and has gone 35-for-46 (76.1 percent, 20th in the NHL) since Forbort left the lineup.

    “[Forbort] starts every penalty kill, so it’s really important,” Montgomery said of Forbort’s return to the Boston lineup. “But not only that, it’s how aggressive he was playing [and] how he defends hard. It’s hard to gain the blue line against him because of his mobility, his angling, and his good gaps. And then the other part is the physical element that he brings to our team.

    “I think what [Forbort] brings [to the penalty kill] is more assertiveness, more pressure, and just the confidence that we’re gonna get this killed off.”

    It will be right into the fire for Forbort, too, as the Bruins will go against a Tampa Bay power play that enters action as the league’s sixth-best unit, at 28.1 percent.

  • 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)

  • Up front, the Bruins will welcome Frederic back to the lineup after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury sustained in a hard crash into the boards in the team’s Nov. 21 head-to-head with the Bolts.

    “I don’t know what exactly happened, if I lost an edge or what, but I think it was the fastest I’d been skating the last couple of games,” Frederic said. “It was unfortunate that I went to the boards instead of stopping.”

    The Bruins hope that Frederic, who has totaled thee goals an six points through 18 games this season, can pick up on where he left off upon his return to action.

    “I thought he was getting better and better,” Montgomery said of Frederic. “I think he’s starting to develop the consistent habits that we all thought that he possessed. And I think that because of that, his confidence has grown. He’s starting to hang onto pucks more consistently, which is going to develop his offensive game.”

  • Nov 21, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 21, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Montgomery would not outright name a starter for tonight’s contest — his reasoning was that he didn’t feel like giving Tampa’s lethal power play any advantages or head starts — but the obvious good news is that Ullmark is well enough to play should that be the route they go.

    It’s quite literally the best case scenario for the Bruins after Ullmark left last Friday’s game against the Hurricanes with an awkward-looking injury after Connor Clifton went full Survivor Series: WarGames on him and landed hard on the B’s netminder in a net-front scramble.

    It may tough for Montgomery to go away from Ullmark tonight, as he stopped 32-of-35 in the last head-to-head with Tampa, and has won all three of his starts against the Lightning since joining the Bruins in 2021, with a .935 save percentage to go with that perfect 3-0-0 record.

    Swayman, meanwhile, stopped all six shots faced from Carolina in relief of the injured Ullmark last Friday, and has a 4-2-0 record and .890 save percentage on the season.