Which Defensemen Do The Bruins Suit Up In The Playoffs?

Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1), Charlie McAvoy (73), Hampus Lindholm (27) and Brandon Carlo (25) celebrate after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1), Charlie McAvoy (73), Hampus Lindholm (27) and Brandon Carlo (25) celebrate after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The Boston Bruins have two games remaining in the regular season and have set the NHL record for wins with a 5-3 victory on Easter Sunday in Philadelphia. The Bruins are 63-12-5 and have sealed the President’s Trophy as the league’s best regular season team. Even more impressive is that Head Coach Jim Montgomery and his staff have navigated through injuries and resting players to continue to post wins. The Bruins have lost just one game in their last 14 contests and have two non-playoff teams remaining on their schedule.

The challenge for Montgomery and his staff is to come up with the right lineup in the postseason with loads of depth at every position. There are decisions to make on the fourth line, with Nick Foligno expected to come back as the playoffs begin from a lower-body injury sustained on February 28 in Calgary. Newly acquired Garnet Hathaway would appear to be included on that line, along with Tomas Nosek and Trent Frederic.

Another area with improved depth is on defense, where Dmitry Orlov has been a great fit since being acquired with Hathaway from Washington. The 31-year-old defenseman has three goals and 12 assists in 21 games with Boston and has played an average of 22:12 of ice time. The addition of Orlov has allowed Montgomery to use fellow left-shot defender Hampus Lindholm with either Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo. The challenge will be when Derek Forbort returns from the lower-body injury he suffered on March 16 by blocking a shot against the Winnipeg Jets. This past week, the 31-year-old blue liner began skating again with the Bruins in practice. Forbort is currently on Long Term Injured Reserve, with a return during the playoffs expected.

In a 2-1 win Saturday over New Jersey, Orlov played on the right side with Jakub Zboril. Connor Clifton played with Forbort for much of the season and was a healthy scratch. When the Bruins are healthy on defense, Montgomery will have to decide which six defensemen get the nod for Game 1 of the playoffs. Lindholm and Orlov will be playing, as well as McAvoy and Carlo. But who will be the last two to suit up for Boston in their quest for their first Stanley Cup since 2011?

Clifton and Forbort formed one of the top five-on-five pairings in the league before Forbort’s injury. Forbort has been a top shot blocker and penalty-killing defenseman for Boston as well. Matt Grzelcyk has had difficulty with postseason physicality in the past but does have a plus-46 rating in his season, which is tied with Lindholm for best in the league.

If everyone is available, you might see Grzelcyk and Forbort on the ice to begin the playoffs. From there, the Bruins have the luxury of slotting in good NHL defensemen if there are injuries or to create matchups. At the end of the day, it is a good problem to have, and a credit to General Manager Don Sweeney for putting together a roster that can be in the conversation for the best Bruins team ever.

Season 3. Episode 43. Goal Scorers and A-Holes Bruins Benders Podcast

The Bruins have over $21 million in cap space. Would Reilly Smith be a good add?  How about Brenden Dillon or Dakota Joshua? Capitals take over CapFriendly. Bruins getting back into the first round? DraftKings Sportsbook – Boston’s hometown Sportsbook is LIVE right here in Massachusetts! Bet local on all your favorite sports from the comfort of your own home with DraftKings. To celebrate, ALL new customers will receive up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets when you sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook using code ITR! You can now bet local on money lines, spreads, props, and more with one of America’s top-rated Sportsbooks – DraftKings Sportsbook!  Download the DraftKings Sportsbook app and sign up with code ITR to get up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets to use now that mobile sports betting is live in Massachusetts. That’s code ITR only at DraftKings Sportsbook. If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 800 327-5050 or visit helplineMA.org to speak with a trained specialist, free and confidentially, twenty four seven. 21+. Physically present in MA. Eligibility restrictions apply. Subject to regulatory licensing requirements. Eligibility and deposit restrictions apply. Opt in required. Bonus issued aree bets. Terms at draftkings.com/MA.
  1. Season 3. Episode 43. Goal Scorers and A-Holes
  2. Season 3. Episode 42. Long Off-season Week 2
  3. Season 3. Episode 41. Long Off-Season Week 1
  4. Season 3. Episode 40. There’s Always Next Year
  5. Bruins Benders Postgame Live. Game 6 Recap

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