Bruins don’t have a ‘definite lineup’ for Game 1 due to illness sweeping through locker room

"You just kind of try to dodge it and wash your hands, I guess."

The Boston Bruins held practice at Warrior Ice Arena. Players watch a drill.
The Bruins' locker room has been hit by a stomach virus over the last few weeks. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Just a few hours before the puck drops on the Bruins’ promising Stanley Cup run, Jim Montgomery had little in terms of answers regarding his lineup.

It wasn’t Boston’s bench boss opting for a bit of gamesmanship by keeping his lineup under wraps. Nor did it have much to do with the various ailments that have sprouted up on the depth chart this month.

Rather, both Montgomery and the Bruins are in a state of limbo due to a virus that is working its way through the team’s locker room.

“We have, not only [Patrice] Bergeron, but we have a couple of guys who have been under the weather,” Montgomery said of his lineup for Game 1. “So I don’t have any definitive lineup right now for tonight.”


Along with Bergeron, Montgomery did not name a starter in net for Monday’s postseason opener against the Panthers. Both Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman took part in an optional skate Monday morning alongside emergency call-up Brandon Bussi.

Various Bruins have landed on the shelf due to illness over the last few weeks.

David Pastrnak was under the weather when he lifted Boston to an overtime win over the Maple Leafs on April 6. Tomas Nosek missed Boston’s regular-season finale due to a bug, while Montgomery noted that Jakub Lauko lost eight pounds while recovering the virus. Swayman was also held off the ice Sunday due to the same issue. 

“Trying to dodge guys who have it,” Jake DeBrusk said of ways to battle the ongoing bug. “It’s just more so one of those things where it sucks, but it happens sometimes, and it’s just one of those things that you just kind of try to dodge it and wash your hands, I guess.”

Montgomery noted that both David Krejci and Derek Forbort will play in Game 1, while Nick Foligno is also a “strong possibility.”

The Bruins are no stranger to rolling out shorthanded lineups this season, with Boston going 12-2-0 out of the gate when Charlie McAvoy, Brad Marchand, and Matt Grzelcyk were all on the shelf due to offseason procedures.


In the four games that the Bruins have played this season without Bergeron, Boston is 4-0-0 and a perfect 17-for-17 on the penalty kill.

Pavel Zacha (57 points) has fared well when pressed into the center position for both Bergeron and Krejci.

It’s brutal timing for the Bruins, especially against a Florida Panthers team that can bury plenty of goals in a hurry. But Montgomery isn’t bemoaning Boston’s circumstances or the poor timing involved.

“I look back at the beginning of the year and we knew we had three guys out,” Montgomery said. “We may have three guys out tonight. Don Sweeney has done an incredible job of building the depth of our lineup throughout the year. We know we are going to put a really good lineup out on the ice.”


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