BOSTON – Brandon Carlo will return to the lineup after missing the last four games with a concussion as the Bruins’ homestand continues on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars at TD Garden. The blue liner, who suffered the injury during the B’s home opener on Oct. 15 when he took a high hit from Arizona’s Liam O’Brien, returned to practice late last week.
“He’s full-go, ready to go. Met with him this morning,” said Bruins coach Jim Montgomery. “[Monday] was a pretty rigorous practice and he felt great today. He’s a great hockey player, we need him in our lineup. He makes us better.”
Here’s everything else you need to know ahead of the 7 pm puck drop on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub:
Zboril to Sit Out
With Carlo back in, Jacob Zboril will be coming out of the lineup for the first time this season. After a strong exhibition showing, the 25-year-old’s game has dipped a bit since the regular season began.
“I can’t really pinpoint why he came down, but I think he started off camp so well because he was excited to show the great work he’s done,” Montgomery said while referencing Zboril’s rehab from the ACL tear he failed last December. “He was excited to play where there’s a lot of veteran NHLers when they come back to camp, they’re not excited of exhibition games. That’s why they probably only play two.
“It comes from just not being sharp in a game rhythm because of the offseason surgery, season-ending surgery. There’s always growing pains through that for every player. We’re probably going to see it, I hope not as much with [Brad Marchand] and [Charlie McAvoy] when they come back.”
Montgomery said that he spoke to Zboril before Tuesday’s morning skate and expressed that moving forward, he would like to see the blue liner become more assertive both offensively and defensively.
“We’re getting healthy on the back end, and we need to get people in the lineup and people are going to have to move out,” said Montgomery. “Zboril’s been good, there’s areas of his game that we want him to be more assertive in, and we’ve talked to him about that. We need to see him apply that in our practices to get back in the lineup. He knows.
“He’s come off knee surgery. There’s going to be growing pains with that. It’s not right away is he going to be a confident NHL player and be able to play night in, night out for us. We expected that, but we expect him to be a big part of the Bruins during the course of the season. For his personal growth, there’s a huge space there that I think he can attain.”
Video: Montgomery addresses the media before BOS vs. BRANCH
The Stars (4-1-1) will be on the second end of a back-to-back after suffering their first regulation loss of the season to the Ottawa Senators, 4-2, on Monday night at Canadian Tire Centre. Dallas, otherwise off to a strong start, is capping a four-game road trip.
“They’re a really good team. They’re deep. They’ve got four lines that can play. They have four lines that can check, three lines that can score,” said Montgomery, who was the Stars’ head coach for parts of two seasons from 2018-19. “They’ve got a couple of elite defensemen and [goalie Jake] Oettinger right now is carrying over from the playoffs is playing the best of any goalie in the league.
“We’re gonna have to get in front of him, drive to hard areas, to get multiple opportunities, rebound opportunities to score goals tonight. With their schedule, the schedule allows us to be in a favorable position tonight. But it’s only favorable if you play the right way and make them defend and play fast.”
Joe Pavelski leads the Stars with four goals through six games and is tied with Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson for the team lead with seven points apiece. Old friend Tyler Seguin (two goals, four assists) and Mason Marchment (three goals, three assists) have six points each.
Oettinger, who is slated to get the start for the Stars, is 4-0-0 with a 1.25 goals against average and .959 save percentage this season.
“It’s a team that has a lot of talent up front, D-men that can move the puck well and skate well as well,” said Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. “It’s a back-to-back for them, so maybe take advantage of that early in the game and make sure we’re establishing our forecheck and making it hard for them to defend. It’s a good matchup. It’s a good team.”
Video: Bergeron chats with the media before BOS vs. BRANCH
Wait, There’s More
- Linus Ullmark will make his third straight start between the pipes for the Bruins.
- AJ Greer will be back in the Boston lineup as the fourth-line right wing after sitting out Saturday’s win over the Wild as a healthy scratch. Jacob Lauko will sit out.
- Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy both participated in the optional morning skate donning regular practice sweaters. For McAvoy, it was the first time this season he has shed the non-contact jersey. “It’s great – two guys that are a big part of our team,” said Bergeron. “To have them back, in and around the locker room with us as well, is always great. They bring that energy and it’s always fun. It’s always fun to have those guys around and to see that they’re making some progress as well is always encouraging.”
Tuesday’s Projected Lineup
Pavel Zacha – Patrice Bergeron – Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Trent Frederick – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Nick Foligno – Thomas Nosek – AJ Greer
Hampus Lindholm – Matt Grzelcyk
Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
Video: Hockey Fights Cancer Night at TD Garden, BOS vs. BRANCH