There hasn’t been much in the way of adversity for this year’s Boston Bruins.
An NHL record 65 wins and 135 points, winning their division by a landslide, to say that Boston has had a charmed season en route to the Stanley Cup playoffs may be underselling it a bit.
On the eve of Game 1 of their series against the pesky Florida Panthers, however, things may finally be getting interesting in Beantown.
Ravaged by a bug purportedly making its way through the locker room, the Bruins are unclear on who will be playing tonight and who will be starting in net, with several key cogs dealing with illness.
An illness is going around, says Jim Montgomery. Several players are sick.
— Fluto Shinzawa (@FlutoShinzawa) April 17, 2023
Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery spoke with the media following an optional morning skate on Monday, revealing, among other nuggets, that both Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman would be game-time decisions. Swayman, in particular, had missed the previous day’s practice with the bug, but took part in Monday’s skate. The team recalled netminder Brandon Bussi on an emergency basis as a result of the uncertainty.
Alongside Boston’s question marks between the pipes, the status of captain Patrice Bergeron, who did not skate on Friday or Saturday, is also expected to be a game-time decision. He too is dealing with the ubiquitous bug afflicting his teammates, along with some bumps and bruises.
“I don’t have a definitive lineup right now,” Montgomery told members of the press.
“The luxury we have is that we have incredible depth,” the head coach noted. “Whoever ends up being healthy enough to go tonight, we know we’re going to have a good opportunity to have success.”
While the bug scurries its way through the Bruins room, having already afflicted other key players including David Pastrnak earlier this month, others are inching closer to a return including Nick Foligno, David Krejci, and Derek Forbert — all of whom missed time towards the end of the season with injuries. Forbert and Krejci are expected to be in the lineup, while Foligno will likely be good to go for puck drop at TD Garden.
“He’s been really good, he’s skating better than he has in two months,” Montgomery said of Krejci, who missed Boston’s final four games with a lower-body injury. “I’m glad we took the precautionary measures we did with him, because you can tell, he has that twinkle in his eye.”