BRIGHTON, MA – The Boston Bruins keep on winning, but it’s clear they are looking for some better play on the back end.
“I guess there’s a change from last game: Stralman in for Zboril,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “Forward group is the same. Pasta is staying with [Patrice Bergeron] and Linus in net.”
Zboril picked up his first career NHL goal last week in a Boston Bruins win, but that’s been his only point in 12 games this season while averaging 14:05 of ice time for the Black and Gold.
It’s been even worse for the 36-year-old Stralman, who is a minus-4 in four games this season while averaging 17:35 of ice time and has worked through a challenging open to his season where he was on a tryout contract in training camp before running into slow-moving visa issues that kept him from playing or practicing much in the regular season’s first few weeks.
“It’s just been a crazy start for me with the PTO and the visa struggles. Ever since those days it’s been trying to play catch up a little bit and work on my game behind the scenes sort of,” said Stralman. “[It was about] trying to be ready when the call came and tonight’s the night.
“It was good [time]. We’ve had a couple of days practicing and I feel like I’m in a good spot mentally and physically. But it is a challenge for me and I have to deal with it, but that’s more the mental part. It’s a team sport and I’m here to win and the team is winning, so that makes me happy.”
Now Stralman gets a chance to jump back in while up to speed mentally and physically after not playing since back-to-back road games against Pittsburgh and New York at the beginning of the month. Interestingly, it also looks like Mike Reilly is going to begin playing in Providence as he practiced on Thursday before leading the team stretch following practice while pretty clearly working toward a change of scenery rather than a long AHL tour.
To this point Reilly had not played a game for the P-Bruins despite being sent down to the AHL last week.
Here’s a projected Boston Bruins lineup, with Linus Ullmark starting and Jeremy Swayman returning to back up, against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night based on morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena: