In prior postseasons, the Boston Bruins may have struggled to overcome life without Patrice Bergeron. And even their deeper teams of the last decade would’ve endured challenges without both Bergeron and David Krejci had that scenario arise.
This year’s Bruins are much deeper. And GM Don Sweeney added even more depth at the trade deadline to absorb any absences to Boston’s core.
The Bruins thrived without Bergeron for the first four games. Their next-man-up philosophy continued in Games 3 and 4 without Krejci. And now they’re closer to having one reinforcement for Wednesday’s series-clinching scenario against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
“Today was a good day. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow,” Bergeron said. “I’m not anticipating any setbacks, so, so far, so good.”
Bergeron returned to the ice in a regular practice sweater Tuesday morning in Brighton. Krejci skated on his own about an hour before Boston’s on-ice session.
With only a couple of boxes left to check, Jim Montgomery will wait until Wednesday to confirm Bergeron’s Game 5 status. The first-year Boston coach wouldn’t rule out a potential Krejci return for Game 6 (if necessary) in Sunrise on Friday.
Even a returning Bergeron didn’t prevent Montgomery from using a unique lineup during Tuesday’s hour-long skate.
Among the eye-openers up front included splitting up the dynamic duo of Bergeron and Brad Marchand. But whether Montgomery uses his unique lineup from practice or more traditional trios is anyone’s guess.
“It’s for me to look at lines. I know what Marshy and Bergy look like,” Montgomery said of the practice lineup. “I don’t know if that’s going to be our lines tomorrow.”
Splitting Marchand and Bergeron up after a decade-long run still seems a little unorthodox. But with Boston’s immense depth throughout the lineup, the Bruins could opt for lineup balance over familiarity.
“I’ve said it a million times: I have so much respect and so much chemistry with Brad,” Bergeron said. “But that being said, I can play with anyone. The guys have so much talent in here that whoever is on my left side or right side, it doesn’t really matter. The depth is there. You have to do your job, and I think that’s what it’s all about. It’s about what you can bring to the table, no matter who is alongside you.”
Well, Bergeron would have a pair of talented wingers to work with if Tuesday’s practice lines come to fruition.
The five-time Selke winner skated with Tyler Bertuzzi on his left and David Pastrnak to his right. Marchand slotted into a middle-six spot with Charlie Coyle and Nick Foligno.
A trio featuring Pavel Zacha, Taylor Hall and Jake DeBrusk and a fourth line with Jakub Lauko, Tomas Nosek and Garnet Hathaway rounded out the forward group. Trent Frederic and A.J. Greer served as extras.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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