Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

  • The Bruins did not have goaltender Linus Ullmark in the crease opposite Jeremy Swayman for Saturday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. Nor did they have a concrete update on Ullmark, who departed Friday’s victory over the Hurricanes in the third period of play with what appeared to be an upper-body injury, just yet.

    “[Ullmark]’s feeling better, yeah,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said following practice. “On everybody [injured], it’s day to day. No one has received bad news, which is good. But how quickly they’re going to be back, we don’t know.”

    (That group of everybody, in case you’re wondering, includes Ullmark, Derek Forbort, Trent Frederic, and Craig Smith.)

    But as it relates to Ullmark, the fact that he is feeling better a day after the injury seems encouraging. Speaking after Friday’s win, Montgomery offered that he thought it would be a day-to-day thing, and that the chief concern for Ullmark was that this was an injury he had not experienced in the past. That injury could be just about anything, too, as Ullmark was knocked out of the game after Connor Clifton landed on top of him to help keep the puck out of Boston’s net.

  • With Ullmark knocked out of action, the Bruins turned to the 24-year-old Swayman for over 16 minutes of relief work, and Swayman delivered with stops on all six shots thrown his way in the comeback victory.

    If you’re looking for a positive with a potential Ullmark absence, it comes with a more balanced schedule that wouldn’t necessarily force the Bruins to reach too deep into their goaltending depth chart (not that that’d necessarily be a problem), but also the chance to get Swayman into his first groove of the season.

    “More to get [Swayman] in a rhythm, right, so that he’s not waiting [like when he] plays a day and he waits four days to play again,” Montgomery noted of a potential Swayman-led run of games. “You know, getting him in some opportunities where he gets consecutive starts would be good for him.”

    Swayman has made five starts through seven appearances this season, with a 4-2-0 record and .890 save percentage on the season, and could be in line to start Tuesday’s game against the Lightning.

    If Ullmark is unable to play or serve as Swayman’s backup that night, Keith Kinkaid would be the next man up for the Bruins. But the team will not make a call on that until Monday at the earliest, as the Bruins will have Sunday completely off while the P-Bruins wrap up a weekend back-to-back Saturday night in Syracuse.

    Kinkaid, who stopped 30-of-31 in a Nov. 12 win in Buffalo in his lone NHL appearance of the season to date, made 38 saves on Providence’s win over the Crunch on Friday night, and is 3-2-2 with a .918 save percentage through seven decisions for the P-Bruins this season.

  • Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (left) replaces goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (left) replaces goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

  • If you’re looking for good news up front, Saturday did come with Trent Frederic, who was injured in the second period of last Monday’s win over the Lightning, going for a solo skate with a B’s staff member after practice.

    Speaking with reporters after the injury and ahead of Wednesday’s loss in Florida, Montgomery admitted that they were likely to take their time with Frederic’s injury because of their depth. With Smith also out now, it’ll be interesting to see if that changes and if the Bruins aim to get him ready for Tuesday night.

    Frederic, who was playing the right wing on Boston’s third line with Taylor Hall and Charlie Coyle at the time of his injury, has tallied three goals and six points, along with 22 hits, through 18 games this season.

    Smith, meanwhile, is back on the shelf after a Black Friday effort that included one shot in 5:12 of ice time before he was ruled out of action with an upper-body injury.

    Similar to the situation with a potential Kinkaid recall, the Bruins are going to wait until Monday morning before they make any calls to Providence for a forward to complete a 12-forward complexion.

    Jakub Lauko would be the obvious recall from Providence, as he opened the season on Boston’s roster, and only landed back in the minors when the Bruins were fully healthy and ran out of roster spots.

    Lauko recorded one goal and two points during his seven-game run with the Big B’s, and has tallied two goals (on 15 shots) and an assist in his seven games with P-Bruins since his demotion.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 07: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Craig Smith #12 after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at the TD Garden on November 07, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 07: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Craig Smith #12 after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on November 07, 2022. (Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

  • The closest thing to a real timeline for a return to play, however, came with Montgomery’s update on Forbort.

    Out of action since he suffered a broken middle finger on his right hand in the team’s Nov. 1 win over the Penguins, the 6-foot-4 Forbort was once again on the ice for practice with the Bruins. That makes it two straight full practice days with the team in the last five days, and makes Forbort look like a lock for next weekend.

    “I’d be shocked if he’s not playing by the Colorado game,” Montgomery said.

  • MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 21: Derek Forbort #28 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at Centre Bell on March 21, 2022 in Montreal, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    MONTREAL, QC – MARCH 21: Derek Forbort #28 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at Centre Bell on March 21, 2022 in Montreal, Canada. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

  • One of the many early-season, unsung heroes for Montgomery’s squad, there’s no doubt that the Bruins would love to get Forbort back in action. Particularly on their penalty kill, which has undoubtedly struggled since Forbort left the lineup, with a 76.1 percent success rate (20th in the NHL) since Nov. 2.

    There could be a cap element at play for the Bruins when it comes to activating Forbort, however, as he is currently on long-term injured reserve, meaning his $3 million cap hit is off the books until he returns.

    The Bruins remain looking for a trade partner for defenseman Mike Reilly.

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