Boston — Patrice Bergeron Not guaranteed to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round on Monday, the Boston Bruins face the Florida Panthers to open their Stanley Cup bid after winning the most regular season games in NHL history (65).
The center does not practice with the team on Saturday or Sunday. Boston opens its best-of-7 series against Florida on Monday at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNP).
Bergeron left after the first period in the Bruins’ final game of the regular season at the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
“We have not only Bergeron, but two guys who have been under the weather,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said Monday. “I definitely don’t have a line for tonight now.”
How worrisome is that?
“A little,” Montgomery said. “I want to come in here and tell you our right lines and D pairings, who’s starting in nets, but the luxury we have is we have incredible depth and guys who are healthy enough to go into tonight, we know. If we play Bruins hockey, we’ll have a good chance to win. Florida We know how good the Panthers are, and we know it’s going to be a great test no matter who lines up for us.”
Asked if there was a bug around the room, Montgomery said.
“There is,” he said. “It’s been going on for probably 10 days to two weeks. Unfortunately, when someone else thinks they’ve got it done, someone else gets it. [Jakub] Lacko lost eight pounds. That’s the redeeming power.”
However, there was good news about another player. The Bruins will see a comeback David Krejci. The center hasn’t played since April 1, but Montgomery is certain to be in the lineup for Game 1.
That should, at the very least, blunt the blow that Bergeron could take out.
“He’s taking an extra day off again today, obviously,” Bruins general manager Dan Sweeney said Sunday. “It will be decided tomorrow. If he feels good, he will play. If not . . .”
Sweeney continued, “We try to monitor it, make sure we balance it out. Patrice doesn’t need extra days of practice. If he feels good, he’ll play.”
Asked if the issue with Bergeron was illness or injury, Sweeney said, “A little bit of both.”
Can the problem persist?
“I didn’t get a full download from the coaching staff about any kind of deadline for him,” Bruins president Cam Neely said. “There’s been no Patrice on the ice for the last couple of days, and I’m sure there’s obviously questions to be had.”
Team captain Bergeron scored 58 points (27 goals, 31 assists) in 78 games, becoming the NHL’s best defensive forward and a top contender for the Selke Trophy again. He has won the award five times.
Sunday, Pavel Chacha With moved to Bergeron’s place in the top row Brad Marchant And Jack DebruskKrejci centered Tyler Bertuzzi And To David Pastor.
“A lot,” Sweeney said of his trust in Sacha. “Pavel has taken on a lot of responsibility and he’s handled it well. Obviously the matchups, it’s lefty vs. righty and Patrice is great in the game, so that’s an area that everybody has to dig into.
“We’ve played different games this year with the Patriots out and they’ve all stepped in. But that has to be decided. We’re not focused on that.”
Sacha has had a breakout season, scoring 57 points (21 goals, 36 assists) in his debut with the Bruins, 21 more than his 36 last season with the New Jersey Devils. He has mostly played on the wing with Krejci, sometimes filling in at centre, his natural position.
“We’ve been a team that’s relied on depth all year,” Sweeney said. “We shouldn’t focus today on the condition of the Patriots, we should focus on (where) our team is and (that) we’re ready. Everybody’s back to ground zero from the standpoint of the playoffs. Whether you have injuries in the first half or the end of the series, you’re all going to deal with it. Go ahead. The depth it has for our hockey club, we feel really good about it.”
Goalie Jeremy Swayman Sweeney did not practice Sunday for the Bruins, indicating he was feeling ill.
Captain of the Panthers Alexander Barkov He was off the ice in practice Sunday, but coach Paul Morris said it was for rest purposes and joked that he will play 47 minutes in Game 1.
The Bruins have won a few recent games without Bergeron, including a 63rd regular season win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
“A lot,” Neely said of the team’s ability to win at less than full strength. “We’ve shown that all year. We have a lot of players in and out of the lineup this year. Our record speaks for itself. Our depth is as good as it’s ever been.”
“Friend of animals everywhere. Devoted analyst. Total alcohol scholar. Infuriatingly humble food trailblazer.”